Vikings pick up signature win over Oak Grove

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, March 17, 2011

MADISON — Back-to-back doubles in the seventh inning helped Warren Central gain an early-season signature win over one of Mississippi’s premier baseball programs.

The doubles by Carlos Gonzalez and Devon Bell helped snap a 4-4 tie and send the Vikings to a 6-4 win over Oak Grove Wednesday in the final day of the Big Blue Tournament at Madison Central.

Oak Grove has won nine state baseball championships, but Warren Central (6-5) put together its most complete game of the season to beat the Warriors (6-2). The Vikings pitched, defended and ripped a season-high 11 hits to gain the victory and put a big smile on coach Josh Abraham’s face.

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“We had a complete game,” Abraham said. “We got the big hits when we needed them. Beau Wallace showed why he is a really good shortstop and we pitched well. We got a win against one of the premier teams in the state.”

The big hits came in the top of the seventh right after Oak Grove had tied the game at 4 following a solo home run by Hayden Myers in the bottom of the sixth.

Myers was on the hill in the seventh when Gonzalez drilled a shot over Warrior right-fielder Kirk McCarty’s head for a double. Devon Bell followed with another double to straightaway center to score pinch-runner Trey Prentiss to break the tie.

Myers hit WC’s Brandon Gates to put two on and Hunter Austin came through with a hit to right to score Bell for a 6-4 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, WC ace Blake Jobe, took the hill for his fourth inning of relief. Tyler Odom applied some pressure to Jobe when he belted a leadoff single to right. Oak Grove’s hopes faded thanks to Wallace at short.

Taylor Braley hit a chopper that had center field written on it. Wallace dove, came up with the ball and tossed it over to Will Stegall at second base for the force out. Stegall pivoted and went to first for the double play.

“It was a short hop and I just had to bury it,” Wallace said of his play that turned into a rally-killing double play.

Jobe got McCarty to hit back to Stegall at second to end the game. Jobe credited his defense for help turning his relief job into a win.

“I felt good out there because I know I have a good defense behind me,” Jobe said. The solo home run was the lone run Jobe gave up and it was one of just three hits for Oak Grove.

Wallace said a win over one of the state’s elite is just the start for WC.

“This is a big boost for our ballclub,” Wallace said. “We are starting to hit the sticks well. Now we want to build a win streak. We’re at two and we’re looking to make it three against those guys from across town.”

Warren Central hosts Vicksburg Friday at Viking Field in a Division 4-6A game.

WC’s Brandon Gates had a two-run single in the first for a 2-0 lead. Austin, who finished with three hits, and Travis Barnett scored in the second off sacrifice flies to extend the margin to 4-0.

Oak Grove got two runs in the third off WC starter Chase Ladd. Ladd faced just two batters in the fourth before he was relieved by Jobe.

Vicksburg 7, Terry 5

Vicksburg rallied from a 5-1 deficit to beat Terry for the second time this season. The Gators (5-6) scored three runs in the fourth inning to close the gap to 5-4 behind RBI singles from Lamar Anthony and Jonathan Clay.

The Gators tied it in the fifth inning, when Cameron Cooksey reached third base on a double error and then scored on Anthony’s infield chopper that went over Terry pitcher Josh Towne’s head.

Vicksburg snapped a 5-5 tie with two runs in the sixth. Clay reached on his second hit of the game and Taylor Brocato got on with a bunt single. Clyde Kendrick followed with another bunt and the Bulldogs threw it away into right, allowing Clay to score the go-ahead run. Brocato scored on Cooksey’s groundout to first to make it 7-5.

Cooksey pitched two innings of scoreless relief to get the win.