Lady Vikes to host tournament Saturday

Published 10:33 am Thursday, March 6, 2014

030514-SOF-WC-RCH-js3

Once again, the second weekend of the high school softball season will feature a familiar waypoint with Warren Central’s Lady Vikes Invitational.
Only this time, it won’t be at Warren Central.
The annual round robin tournament, scheduled for Saturday, was moved this year to Bazinsky Park. The switch was made to take advantage of Bazinksy’s double-field set up, which allows for more teams to participate and a better flow to the day, WC coach Dana McGivney said.
Most years, the tournament stretches over a span of 12 hours — 8 a.m. to about 8 p.m. — and some teams can go several hours between games. The last game Saturday is scheduled to finish around 6 p.m.
“It’s so hard to accommodate everybody when you have eight teams on one field in one day. Moving it down there, we’ll have a better atmosphere and not have teams waiting down there so long,” McGivney said.
McGivney added that a larger pool of teams for the tournament also made the move a logical one. Eight teams, up from six last year, are entered.
The tournament was booked for Bazinsky two years ago when there were also eight teams, but wet fields forced a move back to WC’s Lucy Young Field.
In addition to Warren Central, the tournament field includes Vicksburg, St. Aloysius, Brookhaven, Terry, Yazoo County, Cathedral and Madison-St. Joseph.
“We didn’t want to turn them away,” McGivney said. “When people are calling wanting to be in your tournament, that’s a good thing.”
Part of the reason for the popularity of the Lady Vikes Invitational is that it gives teams a chance to cram several games into a short time, experiment with lineups, and give young pitchers some work.
All of those items are on McGivney’s agenda.
The Lady Vikes opened the season with three consecutive wins, despite the loss of several key players from last season. Megan McCullough (.453 average, eight doubles, 35 RBIs) and Alexis Patterson (.355, nine doubles, two home runs and 16 RBIs) graduated, and catcher Karley Hinson transferred to Porters Chapel Academy.
This year’s roster only has three seniors — outfielders Lexi Burleigh and Skylar Blades, and utility player Grace Franco, who sat out last season after transferring from St. Aloysius.
A slew of younger players, including pitcher Darby Gain, shortstop Lawren Boolos and infielder Katie Channell, are all veterans and will give the Lady Vikes the look of a team on the rise.
“We have 13 kids fighting for those nine starting spots, so that makes it fun to come to practice,” McGivney said.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

email author More by Ernest