Vikings outpitch Pirates

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2011

For Warren Central pitchers Beau Wallace and Devon Bell, it wasn’t how they started, but how they finished that mattered against Pearl Tuesday night.

But in between horrible beginnings and lock-tight endings, the Vikings might have found a way to win the kind of tight games they will have to win in order to get to Trustmark Park.

Wallace struck out 10 in a masterpiece and Bell held on for the save despite giving up a run as WC (2-1) took a 4-3 squeaker Tuesday night.

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“I’m proud of the effort all the way around,” WC coach Josh Abraham said. “Offensively, we started to barrel some fastballs. It was a good night.”

Wallace’s start was anything but dominating. He gave up a double to Pearl’s leadoff batter, shortstop Darius Knight and then an easy toss to first sailed awry, allowing Knight to run home and put another run into scoring position. A passed ball scored another run as Pearl took a 2-0 lead.

WC’s battery was undaunted. Wallace bore down and got three punchouts to close out the frame without further damage. He allowed two more hits after that in six innings of work, throwing a career-high 85 pitches.

“I had to stay positive and throw strikes,” Wallace said. “After about the third inning, I started to throw strikes and handling business.”

In the second, the Vikings finally got on the board, as singles by Brandon Gates, Bell and Bill McRight loaded the bases for Wallace, who drew a walk to drive in the first WC run.

But it’d be all the Vikings managed, as Clayton Ashley struck out to end the inning.

In the fourth, Ashley atoned for his mistake with two runners on. He blasted a moonshot deep to right and Pearl’s Parker Thurman couldn’t make the grab, allowing McRight to slide home for the tying run. Next batter Carlos Gonzalez ripped a line shot through the gap to score pinch runner Trey Prentiss and put WC ahead 4-2.

With Wallace already at his maximum pitch count, Abraham went with Bell out of the bullpen with a two-run lead and the bottom of the order waiting in the top of the seventh. Bell hit the first batter he faced, walked the second and gave up a one-out RBI single to Knight that cut the lead to 4-3.

But in a neat moment of symmetry with Wallace’s outing, Bell’s ending was exactly what the Vikings needed, as he struck out the final two Pirates he faced to end the contest.

Yazoo City 6, Vicksburg 5

DeMarcus Malone struck out four Vicksburg Gators over the last two innings to preserve the Indians’ upset Tuesday night at Bazinsky Field.

Vicksburg (2-1) had Justin Pettway reach second base in the bottom of the sixth after his lead off single and a sacrifice bunt from Cameron Cooksey. Malone came back to strike out Josh Sterling and Clyde Kendrick to end the threat and then fanned two more in the seventh to cap the win. It was the first loss for new Vicksburg coach Cody Zumbro.

“Their pitcher did a real good job,” Zumbro said. “Put him on another 6A team and he’d be in the top three rotation.”

The Gators were undone not only by Malone but also by six errors committed by the defense. Three of the miscues came in the top of the fifth as the Indians rallied from a 5-2 deficit to tie the game at 5. They took the lead in the sixth off a wild pitch from Vicksburg reliever Taylor Brocato.

Malone struck out 10 and walked four. Lamar Anthony had a solo home run off of him in the fourth inning to give VHS its 5-2 lead. Anthony also walked three times. Pettway had a double and a single to lead the Gators. Travis Haas had an RBI single to key a three-run second inning.

Cooksey went the first three innings and struck out five before being pulled with a 4-2 lead. Pettway pitched the middle two innings and Brocato had the last two and took the loss