New Hope takes Game 1 from Missy Gators

Published 10:33 am Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Vicksburg High pitcher Olivia Curtis delivers in the second inning of Monday’s Class 5A playoff game against New Hope. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg High pitcher Olivia Curtis delivers in the second inning of Monday’s Class 5A playoff game against New Hope. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

The Vicksburg Missy Gators had done a good job recently of erasing deficits and finding a way to win.

On Monday, though, they came across an opponent that was able to do the same thing and then stay a step ahead.

Savannah Britt drove in five runs, and Lamora Abrams went 2-for-2 with a triple, double, two RBIs and two runs scored as New Hope beat Vicksburg 10-9 in Game 1 of a Class 5A second-round playoff series.

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New Hope (10-5) scored four runs in the third inning to regain an early lead it had lost, then kept the Missy Gators (10-15) at bay with some timely hitting and shaky defense by the home team.

“We still had opportunities to come back. The bottom line is, you can’t not make the routine plays. The dropped fly balls and throwing errors killed us,” Vicksburg coach Brian Ellis said. “We had twice with two outs and nobody on and they scored five runs. And we scored nine runs.”

Game 2 of the best-of-three series is today at 4 p.m. at New Hope. Vicksburg won the first playoff series in school history last week, but Ellis knows it’ll take some work to keep a good season going.

“You’ve got to understand, that if you make the plays you won that ballgame,” Ellis said. “Plus, when you don’t allow those runs you get to the point where the deficit is lower than three and we can do more. We have some speed to work with, but offensively we haven’t been able to do that.”

The teams traded punches early on. New Hope struck for three runs in the top of the second inning, then Vicksburg answered with five in the bottom half.

Brianna Knox and Myah Wright each had an RBI single for the Missy Gators. New Hope committed three errors that kept things going.

In the third inning, New Hope used six hits, a passed ball and a bases-clearing double by Britt to go back in front 7-5. Vicksburg seemed deflated after losing the lead, and New Hope kept adding on.

Abrams had an RBI triple in the fourth inning and an RBI double in the sixth, and Britt also drove in runs in both innings to make it 11-6.

Shelby Muirhead’s two-run single spearheaded another Vicksburg rally in the bottom of the sixth to close the gap to 11-9. Two runners were left on base, however, and the Missy Gators went down in order in the seventh.

“It was like, ‘OK!’ Then it was like, ‘OK, we’ve got a battle on our hands,’” Ellis said of the middle-inning momentum swing. “I said right then this was going to be a ballgame and it was going to come down to who made the defensive plays. They made the defensive plays and we didn’t.”

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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