Missy Gators drum Ridgeland in Game 1 of softball playoff series

Published 10:12 pm Friday, April 29, 2022

Rust? What rust? The Vicksburg Missy Gators hit the gas and left Ridgeland in the dust.

Vijae Flaggs hit an inside-the-park grand slam, and Kellisia Walker had three of Vicksburg’s 15 hits as it pummeled Ridgeland 23-4 in Game 1 of an MHSAA Class 5A softball playoff series on Friday.

The Missy Gators (10-13) were playing just their second game in three weeks, but showed no ill effects from the layoff.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

They scored eight runs in the bottom of the first and batted around in three of the four innings in which they batted.

“We came out and we showed their pitchers that if you throw the ball in the middle of the plate we’re going to hit it — and we’re going to hit it hard,” Vicksburg coach Brian Ellis said. “We did that all night long and we kept the intensity up.

Ridgeland’s pitchers walked nine batters and threw 12 wild pitches. Its fielders committed six errors. The mistakes only helped the Missy Gators pad the score a bit, however, and did not decide the outcome. The Missy Gators settled that on their own.

Walker went 3-for-4 with a three singles, two RBIs and three runs scored. Lili Kistler and Charli Van Norman each hit an RBI double, and Flaggs provided the biggest highlight with her bases-loaded drive to the gap in left center field.

The ball hit off the wall and rolled around in the outfield long enough for the speedy Flaggs to circle the bases and score without a play at the plate for a rare inside-the-park grand slam. The hit put Vicksburg ahead 17-3 in the third inning.

“I was just thinking, ‘Go home! Go home!’ That was good. The way I was hitting today, I wasn’t really hitting anything, so when I got that hit it felt good,” said Flaggs, who was 1-for-3 in the game with the home run, a walk, four RBIs and two runs scored.

The lopsided victory in Game 1 put the Missy Gators in an enviable position, where their biggest challenge might be avoiding overconfidence in Game 2.

The teams will play again Saturday at 1 p.m. at Ridgeland, with a trip to the third round on the line for Vicksburg. If Ridgeland rallies to win, they’ll play again Monday at 6 p.m. at Vicksburg’s Softball Swamp.

Another big win won’t just put an emphatic stamp on this series, Ellis said, but will generate some momentum going into the next one.

“It’s a positive if we can do that and keep doing that, because now we’re on that good roll we ended the season with and we’re confident at the plate,” Ellis said. “If we’re confident at the plate and get the opportunity to go on to the next round we can scare a lot of people. We can do a lot of damage.”

MHSAA Class 5A softball playoffs
Game 1: Vicksburg 23, Ridgeland 4
Game 2: Saturday, 1 p.m., at Ridgeland
Game 3: Monday, 6 p.m., at Vicksburg (if necessary)

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.

email author More by Ernest