Kendrick’s heroics pace Gator win

Published 11:25 am Thursday, April 5, 2012

It was fitting that Clyde Kendrick finished off Wednesday night’s three-hour marathon of hits, runs and errors.

Kendrick started the game with a two-run blast in the first inning. He completed it with two strikeouts in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Vicksburg an 18-11 win over Warren Central at Viking Field.

The game, which featured 29 runs and 27 hits, was the wildest in the crosstown series since a 2007 playoff game, which Vicksburg won 15-12 at Southaven. The win got Vicksburg (8-6, 3-2) back into the Division 3-6A race.

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The loss puts Warren Central (13-7, 4-2) in a tight bind. They face first-place Clinton (4-1) tonight in Clinton and then get a rematch with Vicksburg Friday night at Bazinsky Field. Vicksburg hosts Greenville-Weston today at Bazinsky Field.

Vikings’ ace Cody Waddell will go against the Arrows, but coach Josh Abraham faces a decision in the return game with Vicksburg. His No. 2 and 3 pitchers, Devon Bell and Chase Ladd, were lit up by Vicksburg. Kendrick supplied the fuse.

The Gator senior went 5-for-6 with four RBIs. He now has 14 hits in his last four games.

“I was focused and ready to do my job,” Kendrick said. “I felt if he (Bell) threw me a first-pitch curveball, I was going to take it out to the buses in right.”

He did and ignited the rest of Vicksburg’s bats. All nine starters got at least a hit or scored a run. The top four in the lineup had a combined 12 hits, scored eight runs and drove in eight.

“That’s what we need, those leadoff guys to get on,” Kendrick said of Lamar Anthony and John Plummer.

Vicksburg coach Ryan Grey said his team followed Kendrick’s lead.

“Clyde is now a tough out,” Grey said. “He’s sparked us. He’s 14 for his last 15 and the one out was a line drive.”

Kendrick’s last hit, a two-run single, gave Vicksburg a 17-6 lead. Plummer, who was 3-for-6 with four runs scored, came home on a mis-played throw to make it 18-6.

Grey could not relax. His starting pitcher, Cameron Cooksey, was exhausted by the bottom of the seventh because the Gator defense made seven errors.

Three came in the seventh inning and WC managed to score five runs to make it 18-11 after Trey Prentiss’ RBI single. Enter Kendrick.

He struck out Brandon Gates on a called strike and then got WC’s best hitter, Hunter Austin, on three straight pitches to end it.

“We kicked around a few, but you have to give Warren Central credit because they weren’t going to lay down after we got the big lead,” Grey said. “They fought to the end.”

Abraham said credit goes to Grey and his staff.

“We got outcoached,” Abraham said. “We didn’t have them ready. We knew Vicksburg had a good offensive team.”

Vicksburg knocked Bell out by the second inning to take a 7-1 lead. Ladd, who relieved Bell, gave up six runs off four hits, six walks and three hit batsmen.

Cooksey allowed just two earned runs through six innings and walked only one batter.

The Vikings, however, did get 11 hits along with the seven errors, to extend the game to the distance after trailing 13-3 in the fifth.

Prentiss and Cody Waddell each had three hits to pace WC.