Brandon rallies to top Vikings

Published 1:17 am Sunday, April 3, 2011

BRANDON — Brandon was just no fun for Warren Central to play with on Saturday.

Right about the time the Vikings were adjusting to slow-throwing starting pitcher Bo Key, he was pulled. Then, when they were getting revved up for a potential game-winning rally an inning later, Brandon escaped and pulled off one of its own.

Cory Williams scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball in the bottom of the sixth, Dillon Pettigrew added a three-run homer later in the inning, and Brandon held off a last-gasp effort by Warren Central in the seventh to win 9-7.

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The loss continued a frustrating trend for Warren Central (10-9). It has followed a pattern of two or three wins in a row, followed by two or three losses, all season. Saturday’s loss snapped a two-game winning streak, and the Vikings face division rival Vicksburg at Bazinsky Field on Tuesday night.

“We’re going to eventually put a stop to it, and the way to do that is work harder. That’ll take care of everything,” WC coach Josh Abraham said. “I have to do a better job getting the guys ready to play. This game is 100 percent on me.”

The Vikings scored twice in the top of the first, then struggled for a few innings against Key. The sophomore used an effective breaking ball and a slow, 65 mph fastball to keep WC off-balance. He retired nine out of 10 batters after escaping the first-inning jam before Josh Stuckey caught up to him in a big way.

Stuckey blasted the first pitch of the fifth inning over the left field wall for his first high school home run. Devon Bell followed with a single and then Beau Wallace hit another long home run to tie the game at 5. Key was pulled and reliever Parker Lowery got out of the inning without any more damage.

“It’s a big adjustment,” Abraham said of facing a slower pitcher. “I figured it would take one time through to make it. The guys did a good job adjusting.”

WC had momentum, but a series of missteps kept it from capitalizing.

With two on and two out in the sixth, Bell’s grounder glanced off Stuckey’s thigh on the base paths to negate a run-scoring infield single and end the inning. Then, in the bottom half, Brandon (10-7) took the lead without hitting a ball out of the infield.

Williams led off with an infield hit, moved to third on a bunt and ground out, and scored on the passed ball. A two-out walk was followed by a fly ball to center that WC’s Clayton Ashley lost in the sun and let drop in for a hit. Pettigrew then homered to right-center to give the Bulldogs a 9-5 lead.

“I just needed a hit and was ready for a hit. I knew he was going to bring a fastball, so I geared up for it,” Pettigrew said.

Warren Central got a couple runners on in the seventh and cut it to 9-7 on Will Stegall’s two-out single, but couldn’t get any closer. Bill Mcright popped out to end the game with the tying run on first base.

“Little mistakes hurt us today, but give (Brandon) credit. They played well,” Abraham said.

WC 11, Greenville 3

Beau Wallace went 4-for-4 with a double, triple and four runs scored, and Brandon Gates drove in three runs as Warren Central hammered Greenville-Weston in a Division 4-6A game on Friday night.

WC blew open a close game by scoring nine runs in its last three at-bats. Will Stegall’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie and Devon Bell added a two-run triple later in the inning to cap a five-run rally.

Bell, WC’s starting pitcher, went six innings and struck out 10 batters.