Prep baseball roundup: Vikings and Gators roll; Flashes rally

Published 9:35 pm Saturday, March 23, 2019

Warren Central has been a team off to a good start. They’ve been a team on a good run.
At some point — maybe now — they can finally be known simply as a good team.

Vantrel Reed went 3-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored, and Farmer Abendroth threw a five-inning one-hitter as Warren Central raked Brandon 10-0 in a run-rule victory on Saturday.

It was the seventh consecutive victory for Warren Central, and the 13th in 15 games since it lost 8-2 to Brandon on Feb. 26. With two more wins, the Vikings will be assured of finishing at least .500 for the 10th season in a row. Of course, their plans are much bigger than that.

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“We know that we’re a good team. We knew that at the beginning of the season. It’s just a mentality thing, and taking on that role in all parts of the field, hitting, fielding and pitching,” said Warren Central second baseman Wesley Ricks, who singled and scored a run against Brandon and is hitting .348 this season. “I feel like that’s the difference, is we show up ready to play. We know we’re kind of hot right now and we’re going to keep it going. We know what we’re capable of.”

The Vikings will ride their winning streak and the swagger that comes with it into a big week filled with rivalry games. They’ll play crosstown foe Vicksburg High Monday at 7 p.m. at Bazinsky Field. Of greater importance is a home-and-home series with Clinton, their only remaining competition for the Region 4-6A championship, on Tuesday and Friday.

The Vikings and Arrows will play at Warren Central on Tuesday at 7 p.m., and at Clinton on Friday at 7 p.m. Either team can clinch the region title and a first-round bye in the Class 6A playoffs by winning both games this week. If they split, the title will be decided in their third meeting of the season on April 12 at Viking Field.

Both Warren Central (14-4, 4-0 Region 4-6A) and Clinton (8-5, 4-0 Region 4-6A) have already clinched playoff berths.

“This is kind of the week that sets up our season. This is what we prepare for, is this week,” Warren Central coach Conner Douglas said. “You don’t want to say you prepare for a three-game series, but it is. It determines your seeding in the playoffs. It’s what we look forward to. It’s our rival. The guys are ready, and I think that’s why we played so well this week. We’re starting to hit our stride.”

The series with Clinton comes at a time when Warren Central is playing some outstanding baseball. It has scored at least eight runs in all seven games during its winning streak, and nearly reached that total in one inning against Brandon.

Reed’s bases-clearing double keyed a seven-run rally in the bottom of the second inning that blew the game open. Reed also singled and scored on a single by Sean Daily in the fourth inning as the Vikings tacked on three more runs and won in five innings via the mercy rule.

The Vikings finished with 10 runs on 10 hits. Reed was the only player with more than one hit.

“It’s just our mentality at the plate lately. It’s just been to attack and step in ready to hit the ball every single time. That’s leading to all these hits and all these runs,” Ricks said.

Abendroth, meanwhile, turned in his best pitching performance of the season. The LSU signee walked one batter and allowed one hit, a third-inning double by Kade Keeton that hit off the third base bag and took a long hop down the left field line.

Abendroth got out of the inning by getting Andrew Jones to foul out down the first base line. He only allowed one more base runner, and three base runners total — one reached on an error — while striking out six.

The shutout was Warren Central’s sixth of the season.

“He was excellent,” Douglas said. “He’s struggled some the last few weeks. He’s had mono and been battling it. But he’s gotten better every start this year. Today we had some good weather, it flushed the mono part and it’s starting to get out of his system, and he threw like he was capable of today.”

Vicksburg 14, Gentry 4
Ty’Ron Moore hit a two-run home and finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored as Vicksburg High (5-6) routed Gentry to snap a four-game losing streak Saturday at Bazinsky Field.

Kendrick Bershell tripled twice, scored twice, and drove in three runs as the Gators broke out in a big way early. Bershell’s two-run triple in the first inning and Moore’s homer in the second propelled them to a 9-4 lead after two innings.

Terrance Johnson also tripled, walked twice and scored three runs. He had an RBI triple in the second inning. Ryan Thompson walked three times and scored twice.

Roderick McCroy came on to throw three innings of scoreless relief and settle things down for the Gators after a shaky start. McCroy struck out four batters, walked none, and only allowed one hit.

St. Aloysius 14, Madison-St. Joe 9
James Trichell hit a go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning, Tyler Breithaupt followed with a two-run double, and St. Aloysius (8-3) rallied past Madison-St. Joseph after blowing a four-run lead early in the game.

St. Al scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning and led 8-4 after two innings. Madison-St. Joe chipped away and tied it with three runs in the fourth, before St. Al came back again in the later innings.

After their three-run rally in the fifth, the Flashes added three more in the sixth. Back-to-back triples by Thomas Phillips and Adam Francisco plated two runs, and Francisco scored on a passed ball to make it 14-8.

Seven of St. Al’s 11 hits went for extra bases. Breithaupt, Trichell and Francisco had two hits apiece. Breithaupt finished with four RBIs, while Trichell drove in three runs and scored two.

Haden Luke was effective in 3 1/3 innings of relief work. He allowed one unearned run on one hit and one walk, and struck out two batters.

St. Al won its fourth consecutive game.

Porter’s Chapel 12, Hillcrest 1
Leon Simms tripled and scored two runs, Luke Yocum went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI, and Porter’s Chapel Academy (6-5, 2-2 District 3-AAA) completed a two-game season sweep of district rival Hillcrest Christian on Friday.

Michael Tod Andrews drove in two runs and scored two more for the Eagles.

Yocum also pitched a five-inning complete game. He allowed one run and three hits, and had seven strikeouts.

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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