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Saltillo no-hits Vicksburg in baseball playoff opener

Drew Monaghan and the Saltillo Tigers turned in an almost-perfect performance Saturday against Vicksburg High.

Monaghan only walked one batter while throwing a six-inning no-hitter, and Saltillo beat Vicksburg 10-0 in Game 1 of their first-round MHSAA Class 5A baseball playoff series.

Monaghan nearly had a perfect game. He retired the first 11 batters he faced before Kendrick Bershell reached on an error in the fourth inning. The Gators’ only other baserunner was Derrick Brown, who walked with one out in the sixth. Brown stole second base but was thrown out trying to steal third.

Despite the lack of offense, the Gators kept the game close for a while.

Bershell, the starting pitcher, allowed one unearned run in the first inning and got out of a jam in the second to keep the score at 1-0. Ryan Melton and Drew Capobianco then each hit an RBI double in the third, and Saltillo (15-7) started to pull away.

The Tigers scored in each of the last four innings, never more than three runs each time but always at least two, and finished it via the mercy rule on a bases-loaded walk to Wesley Mize in the bottom of the sixth.

Capobianco led Saltillo by going 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and J.B. Long was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Melton and Drew Medlock each had two RBIs.

Bershell allowed eight runs in 4 1/3 innings for Vicksburg (7-13), but only five were earned. He also gave up 11 hits, walked two batters and struck out five. The Gators committed three errors.

Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Monday at 2 p.m. at Bazinsky Field. Vicksburg will try to stay alive in its quest for its first playoff series victory since 2008.