Big rally gives Lady Vikes region title

Published 6:01 pm Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Warren Central entered Tuesday’s slow-pitch softball game against Vicksburg needing to win by at least five runs to claim the Class III, Region 6 championship.

After 4 ½ innings, it not only wasn’t ahead by that much, it was losing the game outright. The Lady Vikes regained the lead in the fifth inning, but still only led by one run.

“Going to the bottom of the sixth, Kelsey (Lockridge) was saying, ‘We’re chasing five,’ and making sure everybody knew what we needed to do,” WC coach Dana McGivney said.

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And then, they did it.

The Lady Vikes scored six times in the bottom of the sixth inning, then held off one last charge by Vicksburg in the top of the seventh to win 13-6 and claim the region championship.

WC had five hits in the decisive sixth inning, including a two-run double by Kayleigh Beard.
Laura Reagan Logue finished with two hits and three RBIs, Kaylee Hoeft was 3-for-3 and scored three runs, and Lockridge doubled and and two RBIs.

“There have been several times this season when we’ve had a string of hits put together, but it always seems like it’s too little, too late or we fall a bit short. Tonight, I think they were just a little bit more motivated and ready to go, and they wanted to win and win district,” McGivney said after the game.

Warren Central (10-10, 3-1 Region 6) beat Vicksburg for the region title on a run differential tiebreaker. It earned a No. 1 seed and a bye in the first round of the MHSAA Class III playoffs and will face either Meridian or D’Iberville in the second round on Tuesday.

The best-of-three series will be played all in one day, but the site and time won’t be determined until after Meridian and D’Iberville play their first-round series on Saturday.

“It’s always good to win the district,” McGivney said with a grin.

Vicksburg finished second in the region and also received a first-round bye. Both VHS and Warren Central were paired in the playoff bracket with Region 7, which only has one team.

The Missy Gators will play the winner between Wayne County and Biloxi on Tuesday, also at a site and time to be determined this weekend.

Vicksburg had beaten Warren Central 7-2 in their earlier meeting and didn’t need to win Tuesday’s rematch to win the region title. It only needed to not lose by five runs or more. For most of the game it was on course to do just that.

Sha’Niya Lockridge hit a two-run home run, while Gracie Emerson, Kayla Foster, Canndace Emerle and Kellisia Walker all had RBI singles. Warren Central answered every rally, but the Missy Gators only trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.

And that’s when everything fell apart.

With two outs and a runner on first, Warren Central strung together three straight hits capped by Beard’s two-run double. After a walk to Kelsey Lockridge, Logue hit an RBI single and two errors on back-to-back plays brought in two more runs to give the Lady Vikes a 13-6 lead.

“Errors hurt us tonight. Through the course of the prior three ballgames, we might make an error but we weren’t giving up the big innings. This is the first night in a while we’ve given up a bunch of runs in an inning,” Vicksburg coach Brian Ellis said. “We were in a good position to win a ballgame and we just didn’t finish.”

Vicksburg had a chance in the seventh inning to, if not win the game, then at least get back within the five-run margin to take the region title as a consolation prize.

Two errors by Warren Central put runners at first and second with two outs. Charli VanNorman hit a line drive to left field that was hauled in by Logan Hardin to end the game.

“We were one line drive away from winning a district championship,” Ellis said. “We didn’t put our heads down, and I’m so proud of 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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