Gators get into 5A playoffs

Published 7:56 am Thursday, April 12, 2018

It has been a struggle at the plate for most of the season for Vicksburg High. The Gators have had a few great days hitting, but they’ve also seen some big slumps and failed to score a run in three consecutive games over the past week.

On Tuesday, however, those problems were nowhere to be found as the Gators swept Callaway in a doubleheader, 14-4 and 17-7, to clinch a spot in the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs.

With the sweep, Vicksburg (5-15, 3-6 Division 4-5A) clinched the No. 3 seed in Division 4-5A and will likely face Olive Branch in a first-round series April 19-23.

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“I thought we swung the bats really well today, probably the first time in a long time since we’ve really swung the bats really well, so any time you can jump out on a team and clinch a playoff spot, it’s always big for your program,” Vicksburg coach Derrick DeWald said.

Both games featured eight-run innings that helped turn them into mercy-rule blowouts.
Jordan Miller had a big day at the plate in game one, notching two hits and three RBIs. He added another hit and one RBI in game two. Ty-Ron Moore followed up his two-hit, one RBI performance in game one by going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored in game two.

Haden Luke took the mound in game one and threw five innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run while striking out 10. At the plate, he added three hits and five RBIs total in the doubleheader.

The biggest improvement for the Gators was executing at the plate with runners on base, which DeWald hoped was indicative of how they would perform the rest of the year.

“It wasn’t given to us, we earned it. We squared a lot of baseballs up, and that was good to see, especially with playoffs coming around,” DeWald said. “If we can get guys on, and get them in, that’s going to help us out. That takes pressure off your defense, and it takes pressure off your guy on the mound. Hopefully we’re heating up at the right time.”

The Gators were playing in front of a crowd that was larger than normal, as plenty of fans showed up to give support on senior night. With the end of the season nearing, DeWald hoped the newfound offensive spark wouldn’t die out.

“I think, if anything, when you have a good crowd out here, it feeds into your kids,” DeWald said. “It’s good to have that, and it’s good for those kids to go out and be successful tonight and getting a win that just makes it even better, it’s like icing on the cake. Right now I’m just happy, because the last couple of games, we’ve struggled offensively. I’m just hoping it’s coming at the right time.”