Jaguars close out series with Vikings

Published 12:14 am Sunday, May 9, 2010

On a windy day at Viking Field, keeping the ball low in the strike zone was a must.

Madison Central pitcher L.J. Hollins did just that. Warren Central’s Jay Harper didn’t.

The visiting Jaguars hit three home runs against Harper and that was more than enough support for Hollins, who fired a 5-hitter to lead Madison Central to a 7-1 win and clinch a second-round Class 6A series from the Vikings.

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The loss ends Warren Central’s season at 17-16. Madison Central (28-2), last year’s Class 5A champion, advances to face the Tupelo-Clinton series winner next week.

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WC coach Josh Abraham thanked his seniors for turning around a program that had suffered through three straight losing seasons of 10 wins or less.

“We had eight seniors and they mean the world to me. I am so honored to have coached them,” Abraham said.

De Kelley was one of the eight who played his last game in a Viking uniform.

“He (Abraham) has turned the program around. This was the best season that I’ve had here,” Kelley said.

In order to extend their season to Monday and a possible Game 3 with the Jaguars, the Vikings had to solve the sidewinding Hollins, a Southern Miss signee.

They couldn’t. Hollins did not allow a single fly ball to the outfield.

“That’s what a sidearmer is suppose to do. With all that sink, the ball is hard to get up,” Madison coach Gregg Perry said.

“I just tried to stay focused. I felt I had good command and was able to throw strikes,” said Hollins, who struck out eight while improving to 7-0.

The lone WC run came in the first. Josh Crowder had hit a wind-aided home run in the top of the first to give the Jaguars a 1-0 lead. Dee White led off the Viking first with a walk and then advanced two bases on two passed balls. He then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.

It stayed tied at 1 until the third, when Alex Collum doubled and then scored on a single by Brayden Jones.

Madison was up 3-1 in the fifth when Ole Miss signee Ryan Bolden slugged a solo home run to left-center. Stanford Parks followed two outs later with the Jaguars’ third solo shot, again to left, to make it 5-1.

The Jaguars added two more runs in the seventh as Parks drove in one off his third hit of the game.

Harper went the distance and allowed 10 hits. Three were home runs and three others were doubles. Parks went 3-for-4 to lead the Jaguars.

The Vikings, on the otherhand, were limited to five hits, all singles. The Jaguars used a pair of double plays to end two of the threats and then added a picked off runner in the sixth.

“Hollins was tough. He showed why he is one of the best in the state. But my guys still battled to the end,” Abraham said.