Ridgeland romps over Gators

Published 9:52 am Thursday, March 24, 2016

Eleven years ago, when he was the coach at St. Aloysius, Clint Wilkerson earned the first win of his career at Bazinsky Field. He won a lot there over the next six seasons as he led the Flashes to two state championships.

It was a fitting scene, then, for him to return there for his latest milestone.

Wilkerson’s current team, Ridgeland High School, came to Bazinsky Field Tuesday night and beat Vicksburg High 13-0 to give the coach his 200th career victory. His players doused him with a water bucket following the six-inning run-rule victory.

Clint Wilkerson

Clint Wilkerson

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“It’s special to reach a milestone where it all began. Special memories at that field,” said Wilkerson, who won 125 games at St. Al as well as the 2009 and 2010 MHSAA Class 1A championships. “A lot of special players fought for those wins. I never take the wins nor the players for granted.”

Ryan Jackson went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs for Ridgeland (5-6, 3-0 Division 4-5A), and Alan Merkle had an RBI triple. Ryan Wilkes and J.P. Elkins each had two hits, an RBI and a run scored.

Merkle’s triple was part of a big second inning that gave the Titans a 4-0 lead. It was set up by three singles that were all just out of the reach of Vicksburg’s fielders.

An RBI double by Jackson in the fifth inning extended the lead, and he delivered a two-run double in the fourth that made it 8-0.

Ridgeland put the game on ice by scoring five times in the sixth inning.

Vicksburg (1-13, 0-3) only had two hits in the game and lost to the Titans for the second straight day. It has scored one run or less in eight of its last nine games.

Although the offensive struggles continued, it wasn’t all bad for the Gators. They hit a half-dozen solid line drives that were right at Ridgeland’s fielders and got runners on base in four of the six innings played. Marshall Banks and Chris Farrish had the team’s hits.

It was a small step, but a step nonetheless for a team that has struggled to put together any offense this season.

“We hit the ball a lot better tonight, but just right at them. I was really pleased to see us square up more balls tonight,” Vicksburg coach Derrick DeWald said. “We made some corrections today, and we will continue to work on them.”

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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