Warren Central begins busy week with win against region foe Provine

Published 6:04 pm Thursday, March 7, 2019

Over an 11-day span, Warren Central will play a string of marquee games against some of the best high school baseball teams in Mississippi.

They started it, however, by winning a less-than-marquee game that was more of a chore than anything else.

A dozen players scored runs as the Vikings took advantage of 11 walks, five errors, eight wild pitches and three hit batters to beat Provine 16-0 in their Region 4-6A opener on Wednesday.

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Warren Central (5-2) only had two hits in the game. It has now outscored Provine 76-0 in four meetings over the past two seasons.

“You’ve just got to come out and do the little things, do what you’re supposed to do, and that’s what we did tonight,” Warren Central coach Conner Douglas said. “We never want to play our opponent. We just want to play the game of baseball and do the little things right, and look up at the end and see where you are. We did that. We hit the ball when they threw it across the plate and we’re out of here with another win — and a division win, which is what we had to do, is start off 1-0.”

Warren Central and Provine will finish their season series with a doubleheader Friday at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson, beginning at 5 p.m. The three games with the Rams are among five in four days for the Vikings. The other two games are on the road Thursday at Jackson Prep, and home Saturday at 1 p.m. against Madison Central.

Next week, Warren Central will head to the Coast to play in the Battle at the Beach spring break tournament. It will play four games in three days, including matchups with South Mississippi powers Biloxi, Gulfport and Lamar Academy.

It’s a difficult two-week stretch in terms of both competition and volume. With so many games in such a short time, the Vikings’ pitching staff will be pushed a bit to deliver quality starts and keep everyone fresh.

Chase Graham got them off to a good start Wednesday by throwing a one-hit shutout that was shortened to three innings by the mercy rule. Graham walked two batters and struck out eight.

Douglas said the five-day break between the two sets of games will allow him to reset the pitching staff.

“It doesn’t stretch us out too bad. We’re going to give our guys time. We’ll give them breaks and let them throw every four or five days,” Douglas said. “We’ve got six or seven arms that we trust that we can run out there at any time and feel good about it, that give us a chance to win.”

And, right now, the Vikings are all about winning and getting better. They have a deep roster and pitching staff, and are widely considered a contender for the MHSAA Class 6A championship. After a couple of early missteps against fellow 6A powers Northwest Rankin and Brandon they have won five games in a row.

Taking care of business in this week’s region games against Provine, and hopefully in the tougher games sandwiched around them, should help the Vikings develop a good base of confidence as they head into the heart of the region schedule after spring break.

“We’ve played a lot of really good competition already. We’re starting to relax and do what you’re supposed to do, and that’s playing baseball and not your opponent,” Douglas said. “These next few weeks are going to be really good for us because we’re going to play some really good opponents down south.”

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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