Vikings get by Greenville in rematch

Published 1:00 am Saturday, April 5, 2014

Warren Central first baseman John Morgan McRight holds up his glove for a call from the umpire after tagging out Greenville Weston's Derrick Grossley Friday at Viking Field. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Warren Central first baseman John Morgan McRight holds up his glove for a call from the umpire after tagging out Greenville Weston’s Derrick Grossley Friday at Viking Field. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Greenville-Weston has been an easy mark for opponents for a long time, but after this week Warren Central is happy to see the Hornets leave the scene for a little while.

Warren Central scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to grab the lead, then sidestepped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to beat Greenville 8-5 on Friday night.

It was Warren Central’s 15th win in the last 16 meetings with the Hornets, but the second tough game in a row against them. WC had to rally in the sixth inning to win 4-3 on Tuesday.

The teams play one more time this season, on April 15 in Greenville. By then, WC hopes to be putting the finishing touches on a division championship.

The Vikings improved to 14-3 overall, and 4-1 within Division 4-6A with Friday’s win. They can clinch a playoff spot by beating Murrah on Tuesday night, and the division title by winning that game and at Clinton next Friday.

“They (Greenville) were a lot better than we expected, but we’re a great ballclub and we’re not afraid to go up against anybody,” said WC outfielder Zach Cox, who went 1-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored. “We have a lot of momentum building up. We’re playing great baseball, the team is really clicking together, and every team plays great when their team clicks together.”

Zach Cox

Zach Cox

The Vikings had to click together a couple of rallies to overcome a stubborn Greenville (4-7, 1-4) squad.

After the Hornets scored two unearned runs in the top of the first, Warren Central took its first lead by scoring three times in the third inning.

Carlisle Koestler brought in WC’s first run with an RBI double, then Cox lined a shot over the left field wall for his second home run of the season and a 3-2 lead.

“I didn’t think it was gone. It was real low to the ground. It came off the bat fast. The only thing I was worried about was getting Carlisle home from second. I got lucky and it went over. Got the job done, and plus one,” Cox said.

Greenville’s Kelvin Jones delivered an RBI single in the top of the fifth to tie the game, but the Vikings answered again.

Following a leadoff double by Hunter Bell, WC manufactured four runs on a series of walks and fielder’s choices. The only other ball hit out of the infield in the inning was an RBI single by Mason Jarabica.

“We got a couple of stolen bases, took a couple of extra bases on a ball that slipped away from a middle infielder, being aggressive on the bases and got a couple of key hits. That’s what you’ve got to have to win ballgames,” WC coach Conner Douglas said.

The Vikings tacked on another run in the sixth on an RBI single by Cameron Upton to go up 8-3, but still hadn’t driven the stake in the Hornets.

Upton, pitching in relief, walked three batters and gave up a base hit to Datavious Hackler to bring in a run and put the tying run at the plate in the seventh.

With one out, Erick Grossley drove a fly ball to deep left field that was hauled in by Cox in front of the fence. Hackler tagged from third and scored easily, but a baserunning blunder on the backside of the play led to the game’s end.

Greenville’s Kenneth Hinton tagged up late from first and was caught in a rundown trying to advance. He was eventually tagged out for an odd game-ending double play.

It was the third double play the Vikings turned in the game.

Upton allowed two runs in his 1 1/3-inning relief stint, but still got the save.

Junior left-hander Layne Tedder got the win. He allowed one earned run and three hits over 5 2/3 innings. Tedder did issue five walks, but struck out seven batters — including five in a row in the fifth and sixth innings.

“He threw a heck of a game. Outside of a couple of walks that scored, he threw fantastic,” Douglas said of Tedder. “His velocity was up tonight, he stayed down in the zone for the most part, and he threw a fantastic game. We need big things out of him in the future, too, so that was a good building block for Layne.”

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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