Waddell pitches Vikings to win

Published 11:24 am Friday, March 23, 2012

Warren Central pitcher Cody Waddell’s stare was unchanged as a rock face. Bases empty. Runners in scoring position. It didn’t matter.

The Viking ace pitched out of trouble all night long, but finished strong to lead WC (10-4, 2-0 Division 3-6A) to a 4-1 victory over Clinton on Thursday. The two teams do it again tonight at 5 at Clinton.

“Anytime you can beat a quality opponent, a division opponent, it is a big win,” WC coach Josh Abraham said. “Cody threw a heck of a game and we were able to scratch out some runs early.”

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Waddell (4-0) allowed only one run while scattering four hits and striking out 11. He walked only two.

“You’ve just concentrate on hitting your spots, bear down and concentrate on the hitter,” Waddell said of his ability to pitch out of trouble. “My fastball was working and my slider was working well at the end of the game.”

While Warren Central’s offense struggled, managing only two hits against the No. 2 pitcher in Clinton’s rotation, Staton Todd, the Vikings were able to manufacture enough offense behind Waddell.

Abraham is not worried about the offense at this point in the season.

“I’m not concerned because we’re taking good approaches at the plate,” Abraham said. “The hits will come and, when they do, we’re going to be hard to manage.”

Todd allowed only two hits and struck out six for Clinton. But he walked four and allowed four earned runs.

The Vikings jumped on the board first, set up by a leadoff walk by Trey Prentiss, who advanced to third on a missed pickoff throw. Brandon Gates plated him with a sacrifice fly. Next batter Hunter Austin walked and his courtesy runner, Marcus Ragen, stole second. Will Stegall blasted a fly ball to deep right. Clinton outfielder Anthony Williams lost the ball in the lights and it fell for a double, allowing Ragen to score to give WC a 2-0 lead it would not relinquish.

In the bottom of the third, the Vikings went back to the manufacturing line. Gates was hit and moved to third on a pair of groundouts and later scored on a passed ball. After Cody Waddell walked and his courtesy runner, C.J. Ross, stole second, Bill McRight ripped a line drive up the middle to score Ross. But McRight was gunned down at second trying to leg out a double to end the inning.

The Arrows (5-7, 2-1) got runners in scoring position in the fourth off a walk and a hit batsman, but only scored one off an error. Waddell induced a weak tapper to Gates and a pop-up to Stegall to end the threat.

“He’s a competitor, a great pitcher,” Austin said of Waddell. “We haven’t had anyone like that besides Devon (Bell), who threw that no-no last year. He’s been doing a great job for us.”

In the sixth, the Arrows loaded the bases after Jake Weathersby and Chase Lunceford touched up Waddell for back-to-back singles with one out and Heath Skelton drew a two-out walk. Next batter Baxter Howell stung a hard-hit line drive, but Gates snagged it in the air to end the inning.