Rematch goes to Gators|Prep baseball

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What had been ho-hum game for six innings, suddenly got interesting in the seventh inning with plenty of controversy mixed in.

The Vicksburg Gators saw what they thought was a game-ending catch in foul ground by Justin Pettway get wiped off. Instead of an 8-4 win, Warren Central’s Dylan Wooten got another stab against Vicksburg left-hander Jacob Thomas and responded with a two-out double to make it 8-6. Thomas came back and struck out Carlos Gonzalez to finish off the Gators’ victory and deny Warren Central’s bid to clinch the Division 4-6A title before nearly 800 fans at Bazinsky Field.

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Just about all anyone could talk about was the bizarre play in the right field corner when Pettway’s potential game-ending grab was overturned.

“Justin said he made the catch. The ball never left his glove. He threw out a piece of wood. It should’ve been a great game-ending play,” Gator coach Jamie Creel said.

“I thought he dropped it and that’s what the third base umpire said,” Warren Central coach Josh Abraham said.

Pettway said he had an up-close encounter with the wooden fence.

“I knew it was going to be close. I hit the wall and a piece of the fence fell out. That’s what they must’ve saw. I had the ball. The first base ump said it was a catch and the third base umpire said it wasn’t. I just know I went face first,” Pettway said.

“I thought he had it,” said Thomas, who picked up the complete game win. He threw four shutout innings before giving up a solo home run to Jay Harper in the fifth. The Gator defense then made some mistakes to allow Warren Central (12-9, 5-1 4-6A) a chance to make it close.

“If we make a play on the fly ball in right that started the sixth inning, we avoid some things,” Creel said. “I thought Jacob was excellent. He threw more inside than he’s done all season. He didn’t have command of his curveball, but the fastball and change were there.”

Thomas, who allowed just two hits through the first five innings, said his fastball was the key.

“They hit my changeup but I was able to get inside on their hands with my fastball,” Thomas said.

A Gator error in the sixth allowed Beau Wallace to score later in the inning to make it 8-2. A solo home run by Clayton Ashley made it 8-3.

In the seventh, another error allowed Colby Key to reach second and then score on a single by Jimmie Elliott to pull WC to within 8-4. Wallace then hit into a fielder’s choice at third for the second out. Wooten got a 2-1 pitch that he sent into the corner where Pettway had his adventure with the Bazinsky Field fence.

After the third base umpire overruled the catch, Wooten doubled to right center to score Elliott and Wallace to account for final runs.

Vicksburg (13-10, 3-2) jumped on Key for all eight of its runs in the first two innings. Taylor Brocato had a RBI triple and Cody Waddell blasted a two-run homer to left to stake the Gators to a 4-0 lead.

Jonathan Clay opened the second with a single and Pettway followed with a double for a 5-0 edge. Pettway then scored on a centerfield error following a hit by Clyde Kendrick. Kendrick and Lamar Anthony would later score on a pair of ground outs to short for an 8-0 lead. The Gators got eight hits against Key, but only one came after the second inning. After a second-inning chat with Abraham, Key retired 14 of 16 Gator batters to keep WC in the game.

The Gators got two hits each from Anthony and Waddell.

Contact Jeff Byrd at