Warren Central hammers Vicksburg

Published 12:15 am Sunday, April 6, 2014

Warren Central's Hunter Simrall (29) is congratulated by coach Conner Douglas as he rounds third after hitting a two-run home run Saturday against Vicksburg. Warren Central won the game, 16-3. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Warren Central’s Hunter Simrall (29) is congratulated by coach Conner Douglas as he rounds third after hitting a two-run home run Saturday against Vicksburg. Warren Central won the game, 16-3. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Warren Central fell behind early Saturday and didn’t get rattled. Once it got the lead, it kept the pressure on. And, when it was over, the Vikings smiled confidently and turned their attention toward the next challenge.

They’re all traits generally exhibited by championship teams, which Warren Central seems on the verge of becoming.

The Vikings picked up a pair of impressive wins Saturday afternoon, edging Brandon 1-0 in the first half of a doubleheader at Viking Field before routing archrival Vicksburg 16-3.

Warren Central (16-3) won its sixth consecutive game, and for the 11th time in 12 games. It has already clinched a playoff berth, and can win the Division 4-6A championship by beating Murrah on Tuesday night and Clinton on Friday.

The Vikings, too, are starting to turn their eye toward bigger things.

“Brandon, that’s a quality team. They had a quality arm. That’s a big confidence booster going into the biggest week of the year for us,” WC coach Conner Douglas said. “We’re trying to go game by game, but they’re starting to realize they have a legitimate shot at making a run at it. Whoever we’re playing right now, I like our chances with anybody.”

Warren Central (16-3) scored in all four of its at-bats in the run-rule shortened win over Vicksburg, and capped the game by scoring eight runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Cameron Upton went 3-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored. Hunter Simrall hit a two-run home run, and Zach Cox and Jeremy Jones each had a double and two RBIs.

John Morgan McRight pitched the first four innings for the win. After giving up three runs in the first two innings, he retired the last seven batters he faced.

McRight also helped his own cause with a pair of sacrifice flies.

“I got kind of mad that I was getting hit off of, so I just tried harder,” McRight said of his strong finish.

Although the Vikings hammered three VHS pitchers for a total of 10 hits, they did get plenty of help from the Gators themselves.

Vicksburg committed five errors in the game. Two wild pitches in the first inning led to three runs, and WC scored five times in the frame to wipe out the Gators’ early 2-0 lead.

Chris Prentiss had a two-run double in the first inning for the Gators, and Lee Middleton singled and scored a run in the second, but they didn’t have another hit until the fifth inning.

The result was the end of the Gators’ six-game winning streak.

“We didn’t have it from the start,” Vicksburg coach Ryan Grey said. “We didn’t fight too much. That’s what I told the guys, was I didn’t think we were mentally prepared for the game. It happens like that. Some days you play, and some days you don’t.”

Warren Central 1, Brandon 0

Marcus Ragan doubled and scored the game’s only run on an RBI single by Brooks Boolos in the sixth inning as Warren Central beat Brandon (13-6) in a thriller at Viking Field.

WC’s Carlisle Koestler bested Brandon’s Zach Taylor in a classic pitcher’s duel. Koestler allowed five hits and one walk while striking out four in seven innings. Taylor pitched six innings, allowed the one run on five hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out two.

Gage Teer and Ethan Williams had two hits apiece for Brandon, which lost for the second time in three games after winning four in a row.

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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