Unceasing cycle is on display on the diamond

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 15, 2010

In every prep sport, it’s all about the cycle.

Not the cycle that involves a home run, a triple, a double and a single in one game by one player. That’s more rare than a smile from Tiger Woods these days.

No, it’s the cycle of prep sports.

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The best description of this was by Zen Buddhist philosopher Seng Ts’an.

“Unceasing change turns the wheel of life, and so reality is shown in all its many forms.”

On Tuesday, two teams in different phases of the cycle collided at Bazinsky Park in an 8-6 win for Vicksburg.

Steve Wilson is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. You can reach him at swilson@vicksburgpost.com or at 601-636-4545, extension 142.

Warren Central is at the tail end of its cycle, a team filled with seniors playing big roles like first baseman Dylan Wooten and ace pitcher Jay Harper. The Vikings, sitting at the top of the Division 4-6A heap with a 5-1 record, are just a few wins away from clinching a division title under second-year coach Josh Abraham.

Vicksburg’s cycle is just beginning. With the exception of ace pitcher and slugging force Jacob Thomas, who is headed to Hinds Community College, most of Vicksburg’s lineup is youngsters getting serious playing time at the varsity level for the first time. Tuesday’s win proved that while these Gators are young, they are already starting to scratch their potential.

The group before them, anchored by talents like Bowen Woodson and Trey Prentiss that got the Gators to Trustmark Park just two springs ago, is gone.

The cycle begins anew.

New faces, like pitcher/outfielder Cody Waddell, outfielders Lamar Anthony and Clyde Kendrick, have filled their shoes and have sped the process that usually takes a year for a group to gel.

Waddell’s ERA on the hill was lower than the approval rating of Congress, while Anthony and Kendrick give the Gators (13-10, 3-2) two of the best young players in the county. Both are terrors on the basepaths and game-changers on defense. Even if the Gators end up finishing second in the division race and have to hit the road in the Class 6A playoffs, their maturation over the past few weeks has made them a team nobody wants to see in a playoff series, especially with Thomas and Waddell pitching as well as they have.

St. Al and PCA, both coming off state championships last season, are at the tail end of the cycle because many of their primary playmakers are seniors.

St. Al lost four senior starters from last year’s team and this year will complete the end of the run of contributors Pierson Waring, Stephen Evans and Ryno Martin-Nez.

Porters Chapel will bid farewell to the core of last year’s Class A championship team. Matthew Warren, Reed Gordon and Colby Rushing are going into the final weeks of their baseball career with the Eagles primed to clinch the District 5-A title today, needing only a sweep over visiting Mt. Salus.

Next season, the Flashes will be a totally different team. Youngsters like Josh Eargle, Reed Evans and Matthew Foley will have to be the guys to shoulder the burden.

So with the playoffs on deck in the next few weeks, both ends of this perpetual cycle will be on display. Will it be youth or veteran experience that carries the day? Only time will tell.