Gators pound Callaway, eye title

Published 11:30 am Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vicksburg's Michael Rohrer slides into third base Wednesday against Callaway at Bazinsky Field. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg’s Michael Rohrer slides into third base Wednesday against Callaway at Bazinsky Field. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg High secured a playoff berth and took a crucial step toward winning its first division championship in six years Wednesday night.

The Gators scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning and went on to beat Callaway 16-0 at Bazinsky Field.

The win clinched a playoff berth for the Gators (10-7, 6-0 Division 4-5A). They host Pearl (12-7, 5-1) tonight and play the Pirates again Friday in Pearl, needing to win one of the two games to wrap up their first division title since 2008.

“This is the third time we’ve played Callaway this year and we’d been successful against them the first two times,” said VHS head coach Ryan Grey. “I was hoping we didn’t come in sleeping tonight, just thinking we can show up and win. They didn’t do that. They came out swinging the bats really well, our pitching staff threw strikes — kept it in the zone — and our defense played lights out.”

Sean East earned the win, giving up just two hits and a walk while tallying three strikeouts in four innings of work.

Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the game was delayed two days after nearly 5 inches of rain fell in as many days.

Vicksburg's Josh Daffron, left, is congratulated by teammate Josh Sterling Wednesday after scoring a run against Callaway at Bazinsky Field. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg’s Josh Daffron, left, is congratulated by teammate Josh Sterling Wednesday after scoring a run against Callaway at Bazinsky Field. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Grey said he’s interested to see how his team responds to playing a suddenly condensed schedule. Wednesday’s contest marked the beginning of a stretch of six games in seven days.

“We’ll find out tomorrow,” he said after the win over the Chargers. “We played a few early in the year, back-to-back some days, but then the season starts you don’t play many back-to back.”

If the Gators’ bats are as active tonight and Friday as they were Wednesday, they’ll be difficult to keep off the scoreboard.

Vicksburg racked up 13 hits and batted around three times in four innings. VHS didn’t bat in the bottom of the fifth as the game ended by the mercy rule.

“I like where we are hitting the ball,” Grey said. “We hit it as well as we have hit it all season.”

With a strong defensive effort to match, Grey said he’s eager to see what happens in the next 48 hours.

“That’s a good sign going in,” Grey said. “Our defense played well. We’re ready to go. We’re ready to see how it plays out.”

After forcing Callaway into three quick outs in the top of the first inning, the Gators posted six hits in the bottom half.

Michael Rohrer, Josh Daffron, Marc Grace, Lee Middleton and Tyler Smith all singled, and Eric Green doubled as VHS batted through the lineup to take a 7-0 lead.

The Gators added runs in the second and third innings before posting six more in the bottom of the fourth and winning by the 10-run rule.

“That’s what you’ve got to do,” Grey said. “You’ve got to put your foot down, and get them out of here in five and get some rest.”

Warren Central 10, Murrah 4

Hunter Bell had two hits, including a double, and two RBIs as Warren Central (17-3, 6-1 Division 4-6A) earned a workmanlike win over Murrah (2-14, 0-6).

Zach Cox also had two hits and an RBI, and Brooks Boolos had two hits to match a solid pitching performance.

On the mound, Boolos struck out seven batters in 3 2/3 innings. Taft Nesmith pitched two innings and Layne Tedder threw one to pace the Vikings. They combined to allow four hits, struck out nine batters and walked none.

The win secured at least the No. 2 seed from Division 4-6A for Warren Central. It’ll play on the road at Clinton on Friday night, with the winner of that game taking the division championship.

“Not the best game, but we got away with a win and move on the district championship,” WC coach Conner Douglas said.