Warren Central drops doubleheader at Big Blue Classic

Published 2:59 pm Thursday, March 18, 2010

MADISON — On a grim St. Patrick’s Day in the Big Blue Classic, the luck of the Irish was definitely not with Warren Central.

The Vikings dropped a doubleheader, falling 6-4 to Oak Grove in the opener and 8-5 to Brandon in the nightcap.

But Warren Central coach Josh Abraham believes that the positives outweigh the negatives after the Vikings finished a run of four games in four days.

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“That’s what these games are for, to get ready for the division,” Abraham said. “They’re winners, and they’ll be fine.”

In the first game, the Vikings played Oak Grove (7-1) to a deadlock before starter Jay Harper ran into trouble in the third with two outs. Dylan Sobiesk plated a run with a single down the third-base line and two costly errors allowed two more to cross as the Warriors jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

In the next inning, the Warriors ratcheted up the pressure even more. Michael Harrington scorched a double off the wall and Hunter Curtis followed with an RBI triple. Leadoff man Scott Westhersby followed with an RBI single and a passed ball allowed another run to score, giving Oak Grove a stout 6-0 advantage.

But as the Vikings have done for much of the season, they refused to strike their colors.

Harper led off the frame with a liner through the gap and Colby Key followed with another single. Dee White walked to juice the basepaths. After a couple of passed balls scored courtesy runner Bill McRight and Key, a costly error by Oak Grove starter Josh Townes on a hard-hit chopper by Jimmie Elliott put two more in scoring position. First baseman Dylan Wooten ripped a line-drive deep into the outfield to plate two and slice the Oak Grove advantage to 6-4.

“Those guys from Warren Central can swing the bats,” Oak Grove coach Chris McCardle said. “We knew coming in that they’re a really good team and that they’d fight to the end.”

But there it would stay, as the Warriors brought sidearmer Curtis out of the bullpen. He pitched around singles by Clayton Ashley, Key and Kelley in the sixth, thanks in large part to a line-drive double play when Ashley was caught off second. Despite hitting Elliott to start off the seventh, he induced a slow roller for a fielder’s choice to wipe out the runner at second, struck out Wooten and got Carlos Gonzalez to fly out to end the contest.

Harper took the loss, yielding seven hits and six runs while striking out three.

“We’re finding a way in the close games we’ve won, but in the ones we haven’t, we just need to find that little bit of extra inside us,” Wooten said.

In the second contest against Brandon, the Vikings seemed forever in search of that clutch hit to ignite a multi-run rally.

In the WC first, a walk drawn by Beau Wallace and an error that allowed Wooten to reach put runners in scoring position with two outs, but Brandon starter Avery Johnson struck out Gonzalez to end the threat.

A leadoff single by Ashley in the second set the table for the Vikings’ first run, as Ashley stole second and a flyout by Jay Harper allowed him to tag up and move to third. Key flied out to dead center to allow the speedy Ashley to sprint home and give the Vikings a 1-0 lead.

Brandon struck back in the third as Dylan Davis tied the game on a hard-hit RBI double to the corner and a passed ball allowed Drake Davis to slide in safely to put the Bulldogs up 2-0.

Wallace tied the game up in the WC third, as he crushed a line drive deep into the outfield to score Dee White.

After a scoreless fourth, the Bulldogs took back the advantage in the top of the fifth as Carey Taylor ripped an RBI single into left.

In the fifth, the Vikings finally got the big rally they were looking for. Back-to-back doubles by White and Elliott started off the frame, with White scoring on Elliott’s solid swing. Gonzalez’s two-out RBI single finished off a three-run push that put the Vikings up 5-3.

But the Bulldogs managed to tie up the contest in the sixth off an RBI double by Drake Davis and a costly passed ball with runners in scoring position. The Bulldogs jumped out in front in the seventh with three runs off a controversial RBI single by John Harvey and an RBI groundout by Nick Gibert. Another passed ball allowed Brandon’s final run to score.

The closest the Vikings came to a reply in the final two frames was a leadoff single by Key. Johnson pitched out of the jam by inducing a flyout, a slow-roller to short and an easy tapper to the first baseman.

“They got the big hits when they needed them and we didn’t,” Abraham said.