Vikings outlast JA; PCA defeats Rebul

Published 11:19 am Friday, March 2, 2012

JACKSON — Warren Central’s game against Jackson Academy on Thursday started the way most early-season affairs do, with little hype and not a lot of atmosphere.

By the end, both dugouts were rocking as they embraced their roles in a thriller that took on the feel of a playoff game.

Warren Central scored six runs in the top of the ninth inning to break open what had been an amazing pitchers’ duel, and went on to beat Jackson Academy 8-2 in the opening game of the Mid-Mississippi Classic.

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The lopsided final score was deceiving. Both starting pitchers put on a clinic as they repeatedly sent opposing hitters back to the dugout.

Jackson Academy’s Matt Denny, a preseason All-American, allowed five hits in seven innings, and finished with 15 strikeouts — including six in a row to complete his outing.

Warren Central’s Cody Waddell went eight innings, gave up two unearned runs on four hits, and struck out 10. Waddell retired the last 13 batters he faced.

Neither pitcher walked a batter.

“My fastball, my curveball and my change-up were all working, and I just ran right at the hitters,” Waddell said. “I played State Games with (Denny), so we’re pretty good friends. I felt like we were just competitive out there. He was keeping it real low and the curveball was getting us every time. But we managed to get a couple of runs on him.”

The game went into extra innings tied at 2, and stayed that way until the Vikings (3-1) finally got to Jackson Academy reliever Zack Nethery in the ninth.

Waddell led off with a single, and was replaced on the base paths by courtesy runner C.J. Ross. The next batter, Travis Barnett, laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt. As Ross hit second base, he saw that no one was covering third and alertly sped to the open bag.

Chase Ladd followed with a come backer that Nethery fielded cleanly. Nethery looked Ross back to third, then airmailed his throw to first base. Ross scored the go-ahead run, Ladd ended up at third, and the floodgates soon opened. A walk and an RBI single by Bill McRight was followed by a bases-clearing triple from Hunter Austin, and in a matter of moments the Vikings turned the tight, tense game into an 8-2 laugher.

PCA 9, Rebul 2

Tate Chapman went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and Sam Kirk pitched three innings of scoreless relief to lead Porters Chapel (2-1, 2-0 District 5-A) past Rebul Academy.

Chapman had a two-run single in the sixth inning to give PCA an 8-2 lead.

Sam Staggs got the win. He went four innings, allowed four hits and six walks and struck out two. Kirk allowed no hits and a walk, and struck out two during his stint.