Missy Gators beat Warren Central for first time since 2012

Published 5:03 pm Saturday, March 2, 2019

It was a chilly, dreary day in Vicksburg on Saturday, but the Vicksburg Missy Gators brightened things up a bit by earning a rare fast-pitch softball victory against crosstown rival Warren Central.

Markayla Chiles went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and Kayla Foster was 2-for-4 with three RBIs — two of them on a clutch double in the fourth inning — as the Missy Gators beat Warren Central 8-3.

It was Vicksburg’s first win over the Lady Vikes since 2012. Warren Central had won nine consecutive games in the series.

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“We hit the ball well. I’m pleased with what we did,” Vicksburg coach Brian Ellis said. “We’ve been hitting these points over the course of the year. To see us be able to do that against Warren Central, a team that’s good year in and year out, that’s big. Big for us, big for our confidence. We got a taste of beating them finally in the slow-pitch season, and then to come out here and beat them in our own tournament and on our home field is good.”

The Missy Gators (2-1) got the job done with some clutch hitting. Seven of their eight runs were scored with two outs. Two of their four run-producing innings had no runners on base when the second out was recorded, and in a third they had a runner at first base.

“We did a good job of staying within ourselves and keeping our focus on the game. Not worrying about what was going on outside the fence, and I think that was a huge thing for us and something we’ve been working to get better at,” Ellis said.

The Missy Gators scored twice in each of the first two innings — Chiles drove in three runs with a pair of singles — to jump out to a 4-0 lead.

Warren Central answered with two runs of its own in the top of the third inning. Annalyn Nevels delivered an RBI triple and then scored on a base hit by Kelsey Lockridge to cut it to 4-2.

Lockridge, who signed with Alcorn State on Friday, finished the game 2-for-3 with a double, one RBI and one run scored.

Vicksburg, though, came through with another two-out rally in the fourth to blow the game open. With a runner on first and two outs, Chiles singled and the next two batters walked to force in a run. Foster then hit a bloop double to shallow left field to plate two runs and give the Missy Gators a 7-2 lead.

“That was huge, because we gave up the two runs. Being able to get those back on that double was huge,” Ellis said. “The big thing is, we’re battling. They stayed focused and didn’t get too excited about anything. They were very mature in their game today, and I think that was a huge thing. You want to get to that point where you expect to do this. You expect to make the plays and you’re not thinking about failure. That’s exactly what we did.”

Warren Central got a run back in the sixth inning, but never again seriously threatened to get back in the game. Foster, Vicksburg’s pitcher, retired seven out of eight batters in the middle innings before Lockridge led off the sixth with a double to deep left field.

Foster also retired WC’s last six batters in order. One of them, Kallie Page, brought in Lockridge with a ground out for the Lady Vikes’ final run.

Warren Central (2-3) finished with eight hits, but struggled to come up with them when they mattered most. The Nos. 6-9 batters in the order were a combined 0-for-12.

“We’re just not really in our groove right now, hitting wise. Our defense isn’t bad. Hitting wise, we can do a lot better,” Lockridge said. “We have to hit with every team, so it was just hitting today. We have to hit the ball better as a team.”

The Lady Vikes did do that in their second game of the day at the Vicksburg High tournament. They amassed 12 hits — eight of them were doubles — and scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning as they blasted Riverside 18-2.

Kaylee Hoeft and Laura Reagan Logue both doubled twice and drove in three runs. Annalyn Nevels was 3-for-4 with a double, RBI and three runs scored.

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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