Lady Vikes looking for consistency

Published 7:03 am Friday, October 13, 2017

Warren Central has been very, very good during the MHSAA Class III slow-pitch softball playoffs. Coach Dana McGivney just wishes they were a little more consistent.

The Lady Vikes have swept their first two series by using a familiar pattern — a blowout win in Game 1 followed by a heartstopper in Game 2. They nearly blew an eight-run lead in the seventh inning in the first round against West Harrison, and then had to scratch a run across in the bottom of the seventh in round two against Meridian.

McGivney certainly wouldn’t mind a less dramatic victory Saturday afternoon when the Lady Vikes (16-7) host Harrison Central in a best-of-three third-round series beginning at 1:30 p.m.

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“I can’t decide if it’s the break in the action and it slows our momentum, or if it’s been so hot and they get tired. I don’t know if it’s them thinking we’ve won Game 1 and now we can slack off a little bit,” McGivney said. “I would like to see them push and work through both games. We’re capable of so much more than we’ve shown in the last two Game 2s. Especially in slow-pitch, if you let a team stick around they’re capable of coming back on you. Everybody has a big inning in them. We’ve got to be good enough in every inning to overcome that one inning.”

The winner of Saturday’s series will advance to next week’s semifinal round against either North Pike, D’Iberville or Wayne County. D’Iberville and Wayne County were to play their second-round series Thursday night.

However it turns out for Warren Central, this is already a historic run.

The last time Warren Central made it this deep in the playoffs was in 2000, when it won the North State championship. The format that year was different than now, however. Those Lady Vikes won two playoff series and then their first game in a four-team, double-elimination state tournament.

The current format of best-of-three series all the way through to the state finals was adopted later, and Warren Central has not made it past the second round since that run 17 years ago. It had lost in the second round each of the past two years.

McGivney said this group of players has made this year’s success especially enjoyable. Six seniors graduated from last year’s team, making this a young bunch that has had to find its way to one of the best seasons in the program’s history.

“It’s exciting to be a part of it with these kids, because they make it so much fun. Slow-pitch is more laid back for me than fast-pitch. We might be fussing at them one minute and on the ground laughing the next,” McGivney said. “To see them come together and better any record since I’ve been here is exciting. I want to see them perform to the level they’re capable of and continue it on through next week.”

• Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
• Third round of the MHSAA Class III slow-pitch softball playoffs
• Best-of-three

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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