Missy Gators strike gold with KnoxFirst career homer puts finishing touch on win over Warren Central

Published 11:15 am Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Breanna Knox felt the ball give as it came off the bat, knew it was going a long way and had one thought on her mind.

“Run,” she said with a laugh. “Run and get all the way home.”

As the ball dropped in along the right field line and rolled to the corner, Knox turned on the jets. The sophomore scooted around the bases and crossed home plate without a throw. Her momentum carried her into the backstop and, eventually, to the arms of her delighted teammates.

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Knox’s first varsity home run broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday and gave Vicksburg High a thrilling 1-0 victory over archrival Warren Central.

It was the 13th win of the season for the Missy Gators (13-4, 3-2 Division 3-6A), and by far the biggest. They had fattened their record against lesser teams, but struggled against perennial powers within the division. Beating Warren Central (12-9, 3-3) — which had beaten Vicksburg twice this year — provided a signature win for a program on the rise.

“Spiritedly, it’s a good win,” Vicksburg coach Michelle Fisackerly said. “They played as a team. They handled pressure well. There were so many great plays they made, that it really was not just one player. It was a total team win.”

The teams combined for 10 hits, and each threatened to score just once before Knox’s homer. Vicksburg left runners at second and third in the bottom of the fifth inning, then Warren Central left the bases loaded in the top of the sixth.

Finally, in a game featuring one of the most feared sluggers in Mississippi softball — WC’s Alexis Patterson, who has eight over-the-fence home runs this season — it was the unheralded Knox who broke the stalemate. The left-handed extra hitter, batting 11th in the lineup, roped a line drive down the right field line and circled the bases for the winning run.

WC put two runners on in the top of the seventh but neither got past second base.

“Were you waving me around?” Knox asked Fisackerly after the game, before adding with a smile, “I was going to go all the way, regardless.”

Patterson hit two home runs in a 6-3 win over Vicksburg on Sept. 6, but never got a chance to repeat that performance Tuesday. Fisackerly ordered an intentional walk all three times she came to the plate. The last time, a frustrated Patterson made it halfway to the batter’s box, turned around and softly threw her bat down before heading to first.

“I feel so bad about it, because I know it upsets her when people do that,” Fisackerly said. “But it worked out for us in the end. It’s one of the strategies you have to use as a coach.”