Gators stay hot, pound St. Al

Published 12:20 am Sunday, March 29, 2015

Vicksburg High’s Chris Farrish slides into home as St. Aloysius catcher George Tzotzolas takes the throw during Saturday’s game at Bazinsky Field. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg High’s Chris Farrish slides into home as St. Aloysius catcher George Tzotzolas takes the throw during Saturday’s game at Bazinsky Field. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Maybe all the Vicksburg Gators needed to perk up their bats was a few extra weeks of winter hibernation.

The Gators pounced on St. Aloysius for 11 runs in the first three innings Saturday afternoon, then worked around a couple of shaky innings to nail down a 16-8 win at Bazinsky Field.

In five consecutive losses to start the season, Vicksburg (3-5) scored a total of six runs. In three games this week, all wins, it scored 44.

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“I think we’re getting our confidence up. It started with Lanier and I think it’s going to keep on going. And the team keeping its head up when things don’t go our way is making a difference, too,” said VHS shortstop Chris Prentiss, who reached base four times Saturday, drove in two runs and scored three. “It feels real good. We’re ready to go play anybody.”

St. Al (5-6) matched its second-highest run total of the season, but its hitting got going too late to make a difference. The Flashes didn’t score until they’d fallen behind 11-0 after three innings.

They batted around in the fourth and fifth innings but never got closer than six runs. The surge came after St. Al coach Steve Hancock subbed out about half of his starting lineup in favor of younger backups.

“We had a big win last night, got in late, and I knew when I looked at the schedule that this was not going to be an easy day,” Hancock said. “I thought we were flat, so I decided it was time to let some younger guys that are working hard every day get an opportunity to play. I was pleased with how they competed. The bottom line is, what Vicksburg’s hitters did is exactly what we preach, and what our hitters did wasn’t acceptable.”

Jacob Breeden had two hits and scored two runs for St. Al, Lane Hynum was 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Will Pierce had two hits.

For Vicksburg, Marcus Williams was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and three runs scored and D.J. Lewis went 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored.

“What I was most pleased with today is, we swung the sticks. We tore the right field line up today, and that’s something we’ve lacked this year and we need to do that going into Tuesday against Callaway because they have a really good lefty,” Vicksburg coach Derrick DeWald said.

Vicksburg scored three runs in the first inning, three more in the second, and five in the third to jump out to an 11-0 lead.

Prentiss and Williams each had a two-run single and seven of the Gators’ nine starters scored a run.

After St. Al closed the gap in the middle innings, the Gators tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning and three in the sixth to stay a step ahead.

Vicksburg had a chance to end the game by the run rule in the fifth inning, but a dropped fly ball with the bases loaded and two outs brought in three runs for St. Al to make it 13-6. The game wound up going the full seven innings.

It also brought about the death of a clipboard. DeWald snapped it in half in frustration at the missed opportunity to close out the game.

“That would have been ballgame and we 10-run them in five. I could be at the Mexican restaurant by now,” DeWald said, before adding that it was a situation the Gators need to learn from. “That’s huge, because in a district game or the playoffs if you make that mistake, those two or three runs could cost you. Luckily, today it didn’t come back to bite us in the rear end. It just made us go seven.”

PCA 23, Clinton Christian 1

PCA 19, Clinton Christian 2

Hunter Lyons went 3-for-4 with two doubles and five RBIs as Porters Chapel Academy (5-4, 2-0 District 5-A) blasted Clinton Christian 23-1 in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday.

The Eagles scored 18 runs in the bottom of the second inning. Eight of their nine starters drove in a run, and all nine scored at least once.

PCA completed the one-sided sweep by taking game two, 19-2.

Lyons went 3-for-3 with four runs scored, Taylor Rushing drove in three runs and scored four more, and Jordan Locke had four RBIs.

Clinton Christian’s pitchers issued 27 walks in the doubleheader, which lasted a total of six innings because of the 15-run mercy rule.

Warren Central 8, Winona 7

Colton Norris hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift Warren Central (8-4) to a win over Winona and former WC assistant coach Tipp Nutt.

The Vikings scored six runs in the first inning, but needed to rally in the seventh to win it. Catcher Tyler McRight singled to start the seventh, and courtesy runner Blake Watkins scored the game-winner.

Earlier Saturday, Warren Central lost 4-2 to Madison-St. Joe.

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 reporters in the paper's 140-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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