Vicksburg, Warren Central wrap up summer softball season
Warren Central and Vicksburg High wrapped up an unusual and uncertain summer softball season in a warm and familiar environment.
With a large and enthusiastic crowd cheering them on, the two teams wrapped up their summer seasons by playing to a 10-10 tie Thursday at Vicksburg High’s Softball Swamp field. The game was shortened to five innings because of a time limit.
Vicksburg rallied twice to salvage the tie. It scored five runs in the third inning to take an 8-7 lead, then three in the bottom of the fifth inning after letting its lead slip away. Lexi Kistler had an RBI single to drive in the tying run in the fifth inning.
Logan Hardin hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run for Warren Central.
“That was fun. Good atmosphere. It always is. That was just a fun game,” Vicksburg coach Brian Ellis said. “There were a lot of great plays made by both teams. It’s kind of a cool thing that it came down to a tie. We’re both preparing for the upcoming season, both teams are young, and to do a lot of the things that we did, it’s good to see. It gives you the feeling that the game is growing in Vicksburg.”
Vicksburg had not expected to play many, if any games, at the Softball Swamp because of construction work being done at Vicksburg High School and all of its athletic facilities. Delays, however, allowed them to sneak in a few games there — including Thursday’s, which was scheduled at the last minute.
Warren Central was supposed to travel to Puckett but that game was canceled. A couple of phone calls between coaches arranged Thursday’s matchup.
Warren Central was also displaced during the MHSAA’s June workout period because of construction. It only played four games — three were rained out — and all were on the road.
Coach Dana McGivney was still pleased with the progress her team made. A number of young players were able to see game action, which McGivney said will help down the road.
“If you’d have come and watched our first game of the summer, the first two innings was awful. It was like watching paint dry. We couldn’t make a play, couldn’t pitch, couldn’t do anything right,” McGivney said. “Since that day we have steadily gotten better every week hitting the ball and playing defense. That’s definitely what you want for the summertime.”
Warren Central might have one more fast-pitch game this summer. McGivney said she has talked with Richland about rescheduling one of the earlier rainouts for July 9, but it has not been set yet. Otherwise, the Lady Vikes will try to maintain their summer momentum through the fall slow-pitch season that begins in late July.
McGivney said preparations for the 2020 fast-pitch season will continue even during the slow-pitch season.
“A lot of it can carry over to slow-pitch. Even that, you’ve got to realize that while we’re playing slow-pitch we still need our pitchers throwing and getting ready. We can still work. A lot of the fundamentals are the same whether it’s slow-pitch or fast-pitch,” McGivney said.
Ellis, too, used the summer to give young players some game reps. He only has one senior on the roster for the 2020 fast-pitch season, and played five seventh-graders in Thursday’s game.
The Missy Gators also dealt with some rainouts and only played seven games in June, going 4-2-1. Even with the limited game action, Ellis said the response from his team in other areas made it a very productive period and a good lead-in to the fall slow-pitch season.
“With me, it’s a lot about reps. With the younger girls that I have and playing like they are, they have a little knowledge of the game already and now some of them are getting it at the varsity speed and doing well,” Ellis said. “We’re 85 to 90 percent attendance at our summer weights, which is awesome. Our summer this year is probably the best summer that I’ve had. It’s been a really positive summer all the way up and down.”