Smith’s clutch swing gives WC a split vs. Clinton

Published 12:30 am Sunday, August 15, 2010

The third big scoring opportunity was the charm for Warren Central on Saturday.

The Lady Vikes had bases loaded, with one out, in both the sixth and seventh innings in a tied game with archrival Clinton. Neither time could the Lady Vikes push a single run across.

Senior Sydnei Smith took her spot in the box with one out and two on in the eighth inning. She pulled the second pitch she saw perfectly to the third base line and drove in two runs to give Warren Central a 3-2 victory.

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Clinton won the first game of the twinbill, 2-1.

“That was very big, but I am a senior and I had to step up,” Smith said. “To beat Clinton is very big. It’s awesome.”

While WC coach Dana McGivney was happy to get a victory, she sees that her team is still a work in progress. Looking at the box score, not a single Lady Vike notched more than one hit.

Smith’s walkoff double was the the only WC extra-base hit of the game.

The Lady Vikes have been together on the practice field for only two weeks, but McGivney was still happy with the effort.

“It’s nice for a senior to step up,” McGivney said about Smith’s game-ending hit. “We’re starting to work together, but we’ve got to score more runs than just one or two. That’s just not going to win many slow-pitch games. The first game, errors cost us, but the second game, I’m glad we pulled it out. We’ve just got to hit the ball better.”

The good news for Warren Central is that the Lady Vikes have already qualified for the postseason in a two-team division comprised of them and Vicksburg.

The question will be which team finishes first and gets to host a playoff series. The two teams meet for the first time on Sept. 7 at Bazinsky Park with a rematch on Sept. 16 at Lucy Young Field.

Besides Smith, McGivney is expecting big things out of veteran hitters Krista Cortezie, Alexis Patterson and Megan McCullough.

“Those are three of our biggest hitters,” McGivney said. “Once they get their timing down, they’re going to be hitting the ball really hard and really well.”

Defensively, McGivney believes the Lady Vikes can build some chemistry and become a strong defensive team. With a strong non-division schedule that includes Clinton, Madison Central and Northwest Rankin, McGivney feels she can build a winner pretty readily.

“Defensively, we’re a work in progress, but we’ve got a lot, a lot of talent,” McGivney said. “I want us to play the toughest competition to see where we’re at and what we’ve got to work on. If we don’t play tough competition, there will be no tommorrow when we meet tough competition in the playoffs.”