Vikings rebuild their infield

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 18, 2011

Coming into this summer, Warren Central had the tough task of replacing the left side of its infield.

Shortstop Beau Wallace and third baseman Carlos Gonzalez, who both played in Crossroads Diamond Club All-Star Game earlier this month, have graduated. Center fielder Clayton Ashley and catcher Josh Stuckey departed as well. Wallace and Gonzalez will move on to Hinds Community College while Ashley will head to East Central.

Viking coach Josh Abraham feels his team has made moves to fill the vacancies. A big help was the transfer of Vicksburg High pitcher/infielder Cody Waddell to Warren Central. Despite battling elbow problems, Waddell still made the Vicksburg Post All-County team as a pitcher.

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“That’s what summer is for. We have an all new left-side with Beau and Carlos gone,” Abraham said. “Both Cody and Devon (Bell) can fill in there and we also have a young kid, Mason Jarabica, who has made some strides there. We also have most of our outfield coming back outside of center, but Tre Prentiss has done a good job there and we can always move Bill McRight over from right.”

With Waddell, the Vikings will have a potent 1-2-3 punch in their starting pitching rotation with returnees Bell and Chase Ladd back. Bell started a handful of games at third base when Wallace pitched and Gonzalez moved over to play short. Waddell played both third and shortstop for the Gators last spring.

Abraham tried to stay clear of the reason why Waddell transferred from Vicksburg. The Gators underwent a coaching change last month when Cody Zumbro decided to return Clinton and assistant Ryan Grey was elevated as the head coach.

“I don’t know the logistics about Cody. I was informed by our school administration that he has enrolled here at Warren Central,” Abraham said. “I do know that he, Devon and Chase Ladd give us a promising 1-2-3 rotation. Chase Ladd now has four pitches and has come on.”

An illustration of what the revamped staff can do was evident Thursday night when the Vikings beat Northwest Rankin 1-0 behind Waddell and Bell.

“We’ve beaten Northwest (Rankin) twice this summer, including the 1-0 game last night,” Abraham said. “We also won a couple of games at the State Games tournament. We lost to Madison Central, but beat Port Gibson and Greene County. Overall, we’ve done well. We’ve played about 10 games. That’s not as many as I would’ve liked, but the kids have played hard.”

Bell echoes his coach’s midsummer assessment.

“I feel we’re ready to make a good run,” Bell said. “Our defense has come together and we’ve had a lot of young players step up. Having Cody here is a big relief for me. He’s a great benefit to our pitching staff.”