Vikings walk off with division title

Published 10:35 am Friday, April 10, 2015

Warren Central catcher Tyler McRight tags out Clinton's Adam Jackson Thursday night at Viking Field. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Warren Central catcher Tyler McRight tags out Clinton’s Adam Jackson Thursday night at Viking Field. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

In one joyous moment, three dozen smiling faces and five years of frustration spilled out of the home dugout and onto the grass and dirt of Viking Field.

Brooks Boolos blooped a single down the right field line with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday, giving Warren Central a 3-2 win over Clinton and the division 4-6A championship.

It’s Warren Central’s first division title since 2010. Clinton had won the last four and took the season series from WC the last two years.

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“It’s amazing, especially for us seniors. All the years coming up to it, and to finally get it, is great,” said WC outfielder Layne Tedder, who scored the winning run.

Boolos finished the game 2-for-3 with two RBIs — he also had an RBI single in the third inning — and Taft Nesmith allowed five hits, no walks and struck out two in a complete game victory.

The story of the game for the Vikings (11-6, 6-1 Division 4-6A), however, was defense. They came up with a half-dozen crucial and sometimes spectacular plays in the field to keep it close.

In the fourth inning, after Clinton (12-6, 5-2) had scored to take a 2-1 lead, Dylan Creel delivered a two-out single to left field. Tedder fielded it and unleashed a perfect throw to the plate to cut down Adam Jackson, who was trying to score from second base.

“He hit a ball that I wasn’t going to get it in the air, so I caught it off the hop,” Tedder said. “I honestly thought the throw was going over at first. Then it landed perfect. That was just awesome.”

First baseman Zach Cox made two over-the-shoulder catches of foul pop ups, and also a nifty backhand stab of a ground ball to keep the tying run on third in the top of the seventh inning.

Third baseman Colton Norris fielded a sharp grounder later in the seventh and threw to a stretched-out Cox for the final out to keep it tied at 2.

“Every player on the field made some kind of play that contributed to winning that ballgame. Big plays that saved runs,” Warren Central coach Conner Douglas said.

By contrast, Clinton’s small bobbles in the field proved costly. Two of Warren Central’s three runs, including the last, were unearned.

Tedder led off the bottom of the seventh by hitting a soft liner up the middle. Clinton shortstop Colby Collier got to the ball just before it hit the ground but couldn’t hold on, and Tedder was safe at first.

Clinton pitcher Mitchell Foreman recovered to strike out the next two batters, and made a pickoff throw to first that caught Tedder off the bag. Tedder bolted for second, however, and beat the throw from the first baseman.

Two pitches later Boolos hit a 2-0 curveball into shallow right field. It landed just inside the foul line and then kicked away from the right fielder, allowing Tedder to cruise home and score without a play at the plate.

Both players were mobbed in the infield as their teammates erupted from the dugout in celebration.

“When I saw it kick, I did an airplane around the bases just waiting for them to come tackle me. It felt great,” Boolos said. “We’ve been trying to do that for so long and we’ve always been so close. We’ve always won one game and split with them but we can’t ever capitalize and finish. I think it’s going to change a lot of things around here. Now that we’ve got one in the bag it’s going to snowball all the way down.”

Porters Chapel 16, Rebul 0

Hunter Lyons went 2-for-3 with a double and four RBIs, and Porters Chapel Academy scored 15 runs in the first inning to rout Rebul Academy.

Ryan Collins went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and three runs scored for PCA. Taylor Rushing, Jordan Locke and Huntington Hale also had two hits apiece.

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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