Vikings steal wild, ugly win from Titans

Published 12:40 am Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ridgeland's Emil Ellis slides across home plate as the ball skips past Warren Central catcher Jeremy Jones. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Ridgeland’s Emil Ellis slides across home plate as the ball skips past Warren Central catcher Jeremy Jones. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

RIDGELAND — It took nearly four hours, several rallies, a coach’s ejection and almost every player on the roster for Warren Central to beat Ridgeland on Saturday.

Marcus Ragan’s RBI single snapped a tie in the 11th inning, and sparked a four-run rally that sent the Vikings to a 15-12 win.

It was the finale to a wild, woolly game at Ridgeland High School.

The teams combined to use 13 pitchers who issued 21 walks and hit seven batters. Nearly 20 players on each side were shuffled in and out of the lineup. Warren Central overcame deficits of four and three runs, only to blow leads after each comeback.

Warren Central's Brooks Boolos slides into third with a stolen base in the first inning Saturday against Ridgeland. Boolos went 2-for-6 with two RBIs, three runs scored, and four stolen bases as WC won 15-12 in 11 innings. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Warren Central’s Brooks Boolos slides into third with a stolen base in the first inning Saturday against Ridgeland. Boolos went 2-for-6 with two RBIs, three runs scored, and four stolen bases as WC won 15-12 in 11 innings. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

And, with the score tied at 11 in the eighth inning, the Vikings lost their coach when Conner Douglas was ejected for arguing a call.

WC’s Brooks Boolos was caught in a rundown between third and home. As he tried to return to third base, he plowed into a Ridgeland fielder and called out.

Douglas and a number of WC players charged from the dugout. WC’s coaches held the players back, but for Douglas it was the last straw in a gamelong series of questioned calls by home plate umpire Matt Harris.

Earlier in the game, Ridgeland coach Clint Wilkerson had received a warning from Harris for arguing a call on what appeared to be a dropped foul tip for an out. Douglas had argued several other calls throughout the game.

Douglas argued for several minutes before he was finally ejected by Harris. Douglas followed the umpire back toward home plate, continuing the argument until he was pulled away by assistant coach Brad Babb.

“It got to a point where, I wasn’t trying to get ejected, but that’s the difference in the ballgame right there,” Douglas said. “His demeanor, he was very unprofessional the whole game. I went overboard, but what coach wouldn’t have in that situation?”

The teams had combined for 18 runs in a span of 2 1/2 innings, but both tempers and offenses calmed down after that. Neither side scored until the Vikings plated four runs in the top of the 11th inning.

It was the third multiple-run inning for the Vikings in the game. They scored six times in the top of the fifth to wipe out a 4-0 deficit, then four times in the sixth inning after Ridgeland had put five on the board to take a 9-6 lead.

Ridgeland scored twice on a two-out error in the bottom of the sixth to take an 11-10 lead, then the Vikings rallied again. John Morgan McRight’s RBI ground out in the seventh tied the game and sent it to extra innings.

In the 11th, Mason Jarabica led off with a single, stole second and scored on Ragan’s hit to put WC ahead 12-11. RBI doubles by Boolos and Tyler Vroman, and a run-scoring ground out padded the lead.

“I’m just glad with the way we competed. We could have folded up shop, but we didn’t,” Douglas said.

Hunter Bell led WC at the plate by going 2-for-7 with a double, four RBIs, and two runs scored. Boolos had two hits, drove in two runs, scored three times and stole four bases. Jarabica also scored three runs, while Cameron Upton had two RBIs.

Carlisle Koestler, normally Warren Central’s best starting pitcher, threw the last five innings in an extended relief stint to get the win. He struck out six, and allowed three hits and one walk.

Ridgeland’s Peyton Joe went 4-for-6 with four RBIs. Emil Ellis went 2-for-5 with three runs scored.

Ridgeland only had eight hits, but took advantage of a dozen walks, five hit batters and two balks from Warren Central’s pitchers.

“I’m glad the way we competed. We got right back in it. But we’ve got to get better all the way around,” Douglas said. “Walks kill you, and a lot of those runs that were on the board were walks.”

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.

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