Vicksburg falls to Ridgeland 14-1 in lopsided game, rematch on Friday

Published 7:18 pm Thursday, March 8, 2018

Things just didn’t go right at all for the Vicksburg Gators in their division opener Wednesday against Ridgeland.

The Gators only had two hits, committed five errors, issued 10 walks and lost 14-1 in a five-inning game shortened by the mercy rule.

Ridgeland pitcher Ryan Jackson allowed just two hits and one walk in a complete game. Four Vicksburg pitchers combined to allow 11 earned runs.

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“Scoreboard speaks for itself,” Vicksburg coach Derrick DeWald said. “I thought we were prepared, and at the end of the day, they were just better tonight. Can’t take anything from them, give them all the credit. We walked guys, they made us pay. We had five errors, they made us pay, and at the end of the night they just continued to attack.”

Kameron Jones and Dylan Whitfield had Vicksburg’s two hits, and Alfred Barnes scored the team’s lone run.

For Ridgeland, Javondus McGrueder had three hits and three RBIs, Kevin Wright had two hits with three RBIs, and Kelvon Johnson had two hits and two RBIs.

The game started off close, with Wright doubling and scoring on a single by McGruder in the top of the first inning.

Vicksburg answered in the bottom half, as Barnes was hit by a pitch, stole second and third base and then scored on an error.

From there, it was all Ridgeland. The Titans scored three runs in the next two innings, and then had six in a monstrous fourth inning before topping things off with a run in the fifth.

“Bottom line is, we have to get better hitting,” DeWald said. “We put a lot of pressure on our pitching and our defense when we don’t score runs, when we don’t hit the ball. One hit is just not going to cut it, and we just have to get better at it.”

Because of weather conditions, Vicksburg (1-3) is still relatively inexperienced this year. The team has played just four games while Ridgeland has competed in six.

The Gators have five games scheduled in a six-day span beginning with Friday night’s rematch at Ridgeland and continuing through next week’s spring break tournament at Bazinsky Field.

“We just need to play more games,” DeWald said. “We saw a good pitcher tonight. I knew he was coming. We prepared the best we could, but at the end of the night we just need to continue to play. More guys need to see innings, more guys need to see arms. We just have to continue to play.”

The Gators will get their chance at redemption against the Titans just 48 hours after their loss. DeWald noted that it was a big game not just to get back on the right track, but in the bigger scope of the season and the Division 4-5A playoff picture.

“We have to find a way to split with them,” DeWald said. “If not, we’re 0-2 in district, and that’s not where we want to be. We have one day of practice, and when we go over there we’ll give it our best. At the end of the night that’s all I can ask for.”

DeWald said he hopes the team shows some progress in the games Friday and Saturday.

After going to Ridgeland, they’ll host Franklin County Saturday at 1 p.m.

“Hopefully as we get more games under our belt, we’ll start to make improvements, and our bats will wake up,” DeWald said.