WC routs Clinton to even season series

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nearly a week after losing an error-laden game at Clinton, Warren Central returned the favor.

The Vikings scored six runs in the second inning to back a strong pitching performance by John Morgan McRight, and beat Clinton 8-1 to pull even in the Division 4-6A race.

“We were clicking on all cylinders tonight,” Warren Central coach Conner Douglas said.

Warren Central (12-3, 3-1 Division 4-6A) and Clinton (13-4, 3-1) play one more time, on April 11 at Clinton. With Greenville-Weston and Murrah, the other two teams in the division, struggling, that third meeting between the Vikings and Arrows is shaping up as a division championship game.

For now, Douglas said his team will focus on getting there without a misstep. Warren Central plays at Greenville tonight, then hosts the Hornets on Friday.

“We’ve just got to take this one game at a time. We’ve got to take care of Greenville this week,” he said. “We play them twice and … they can beat you. We’ve just got to play one game at a time.”

McRight put on an impressive performance Monday, scattering six hits in a complete-game victory. He allowed one run, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out three.

John Morgan McRight

John Morgan McRight

Douglas said McRight’s consistency on the mound brought a steadiness to the team’s performances.

“When McRight’s on the mound, our guys, they just have overwhelming confidence because he’s a competitor and nothing’s going to faze him,” Douglas said. “I can’t say enough about him. He’s always been there and he’s always going to be there. He’s a competitor you want in big games and he handled it tonight.”

While McRight proved steady on the mound, the Vikings’ bats that posted just two hits last Tuesday at Clinton racked up 10 in the rematch at Viking Field. Three of those came in the second inning, along with two of Clinton’s three errors that helped break open the scoring.

After stranding two runners in the first inning, the Vikings went to work in the second. Junior Zach Cox doubled and advanced to third on a passed ball. Hunter Simrall’s grounder was mishandled by Clinton second baseman Zach Pope, allowing Cox to score to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead.

Pope’s error was the first in a string of miscues by the Arrows.

Two runs scored on a passed ball — one on the initial play, the other the result of a miscommunication between pitcher Cortez Posey and catcher Michael Davis. Brooks Boolos forced an error with an awkward grounder up the middle, allowing him to beat the throw, and he eventually scored on a bloop hit to left field by Carlisle Koestler.

Boolos finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

In all, the Vikings scored six times to take a lead they never came close to relinquishing.

Douglas said he was pleased with his team’s performance in all phases of the game.

“That wins baseball games — timely hits. Our guys came up big. It was always a different guy coming out,” Douglas said.

After taking the 6-0 lead heading into the third inning, McRight gave up just two singles before the Arrows managed a run in the sixth.

The Vikings tacked on two more in the bottom of the sixth, and Clinton went three up, three down in the top of the seventh.

Central Hinds 6, Porters Chapel 1

Ty Mohler drove in three runs, and Alex Biggs doubled and scored a run to lead Central Hinds past Porters Chapel Academy (11-8).

PCA lost for just the second time in nine games. It managed just three hits — a single each by Sam Kirk, Steven Busma and Brandon Beck.

Taylor Rushing scored PCA’s only run when he stole third and came home on a fielding error in the fifth inning.

Mohler keyed a three-run rally in the third inning by Central Hinds with a two-run single. Peyton Banes added an RBI single to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead.

Banes also pitched five innings to earn the win.

PCA will return to action today with a single game at Rebul Academy at 6 p.m. The teams will then play a doubleheader Thursday at PCA beginning at 4 p.m.

PCA can clinch its first playoff berth since 2011 by sweeping the three-game season series with Rebul, or by sweeping a doubleheader next Monday from Veritas.