Vicksburg trying to carry positive momentum into second half of season

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, March 20, 2018

It’s always tough to regroup after a blowout loss. It can be even tougher to bounce back after a close one. Vicksburg High successfully rebounded after a brutal 12-1 loss to Wayne County in last week’s Battle on the River tournament, but now it’s tasked with shaking off a 7-6 loss to St. Al in the finale.

The Gators let a four-run lead slip away in the bottom of the seventh inning, and then lost in the eighth. They’ll need to move forward, with three games — including two against Division 4-5A foe Germantown — on the schedule this week.

“I told them I was proud of them,” Vicksburg coach Derrick DeWald said after the loss to St. Al. “You can’t fault effort, we just have to find a way to close the game out. You have a four-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh, you have to find a way to close it out, and unfortunately we didn’t, but I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the effort they gave, we’ll get away from it for four days, and turn around on Monday and go to West Lincoln and play and get back at it.”

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Vicksburg (2-7) had a rough start to the season, but has been playing better lately. Before the loss to Wayne County, the Gators defeated West Bolivar 6-2.

DeWald wanted his team to put the St. Al loss behind them, but hold on to the effort and energy. VHS played West Lincoln (3-5) on the road Monday night.

“It’s a game where we just need to go out there and play,” DeWald said. “If we play like this tonight, we’ll have an opportunity to be in the game at the end. That’s all I can ask for with my guys. Give us a chance at the very end to have a chance to win the ball game. If we can do that, I’m very pleased.”

Even a heartbreaking loss showed that the team is improving at the halfway point of the season. Vicksburg is 0-2 in division play, and 2-7 overall, but can still reach the playoffs with a strong final month.

“The one thing about really turning the corner as a program, is we have to be able to compete consistently, and then once we start competing consistently, then it’s time to be able to get over the hump and close out games,” DeWald said. “If we start showing this type of effort, and this type of performance, game in and game out the rest of the year, then I know we’re headed in the right direction as a program.”