Southaven looms for Warren Central

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Warren Central, by virtue of its Division 3-6A championship, got a nice break to refocus its energies.

Now the break is over. The Lady Vikes will open their playoff run with a best-of-three series with Southaven, starting Thursday night at 5:30.

Both teams are young, but WC coach Dana McGivney knows her charges will face a stern test. Southaven lost Game 1 against Clinton in the opener before rallying from a 4-0 deficit in Game 2 to win and force a decisive Game 3.

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“Their coach (Shane Staten) is a good coach and he’ll have them ready for us,” McGivney said.

McGivney’s team will have to make a playoff run with the team’s heart and soul. Senior shortstop Krista Cortezie, who has battled injuries all year, will miss the rest of the season with injuries to both her knees that only rest will fix.

When the Lady Vikes struggled down the stretch with their hitting, McGivney got her troops back to basics, in the cage and off the tee, hoping to spark an offense that struggled in a season-finale loss to Vicksburg.

“We’ve gone back to basics,” McGivney said. “You don’t want to end your regular season with a loss, but get through it and get over it.”

Karley Henson is the team’s leading hitter (.367 average) and she’s fought a midseason illness to get back into the lineup, leading the team with 16 RBIs. Megan McCullough is second on the team with a .303 average and 14 RBIs.

One key advantage for WC is in the circle. Freshman Darby Gain has been a revelation in her first year as a starter, pitching 861⁄3 innings with a 2.35 ERA and 72 strikeouts. Opposing hitters are hitting only .207 against her.

But one factor won’t be fixed with extra time in the cage or in infield practice. The Lady Vikes have been inconsistent all year. Some nights, when they’re pumped up, they looked like world-beaters, like in their shutout win over Vicksburg. Others, like the loss to Vicksburg last week, the team seemed to be flat.

McGivney hopes that in the postseason, the former makes an extended appearance.

“We have one group that shows up with intensity and emotion and they play hard,” McGivney said. “Other nights, we are just there.”