Vikings start hot, earn win no. 5
Published 9:25 pm Saturday, March 8, 2014
PEARL — Warren Central turned in a complete effort Saturday that didn’t require any drama or late-inning heroics.
It was a refreshing change of pace.
The Vikings collected 13 hits — eight of their nine starters had at least one — turned two double plays and got a solid pitching performance from Zach Cox to beat Central Private (La.) 9-4 in the Mid-Mississippi Classic at Pearl High School.
Warren Central (5-1) scored four runs in the top of the first inning and never trailed. It was the first time in six games this season that it played a game in which the winning runs were scored before the sixth inning.
“We came out here and we played hard the whole game. A complete game. It’s the first time we’ve actually done that. Every game this season we’ve came out slow or sluggish, and this is the first game we really came out on top the whole game,” WC senior outfielder Hunter Bell said. “We’re not great until we get to the second round of the lineup. Today, we came out swinging and that gave us confidence throughout the game.”
Cox was the only WC starter who didn’t get a hit, but he did have an RBI ground out in the first inning and a strong outing on the mound. After a shaky first inning in which he walked two batters and gave up two hits and two runs, he settled in and allowed two hits and a walk, and one run — a solo homer by A.J. Harrison — before leaving at the end of the fifth inning.
Marcus Ragan and Mason Jarabica drove in two runs apiece for WC, while Cameron Upton, Josh Lieberman and Jarabica all had two hits.
Bell was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Bell doubled in the first inning, tripled in a run in the fourth, and singled in the sixth. He didn’t get to bat again and fell a home run short of the cycle.
“It was a great opportunity to even have that chance,” Bell said of missing a shot at the cycle.
Unlike in several previous games, the Vikings didn’t let up after taking a big lead early on.
Central Private scored twice in the bottom of the first, but WC answered with three runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth to blow it open. A two-run single by Marcus Ragan and Bell’s RBI triple put WC up 7-2 in the fourth, then Jarabica drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Upton singled in another in the fifth to make it 9-2.
“The game of baseball, you’re always going to be on pins and needles. But to a degree, that was a lot nicer,” WC coach Conner Douglas said. “I wasn’t as nervous that last inning as I had been the past few.”
West Lauderdale 3
St. Aloysius 1
West Lauderdale broke a 1-1 deadlock in the seventh inning to hand St. Aloysius their second loss of the season.
WLHS scored twice in their final at-bat to give the Flashes the loss.
St. Al hosts their home tournament next week with games beginning Monday.
Porters Chapel 13
Tallulah Academy 3
PCA posted seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning Saturday to defeat Tallulah Academy by the ten-run rule.
After falling three runs down in the second inning, PCA posted two runs in the bottom of the second and another in the bottom of the third to tie the game before tacking on three more runs in the fourth.
Porters Chapel will play in the Benton Academy tournament Monday, facing Central Holmes Academy at 8 a.m.