Gators’ shaky start continues with loss to Terry
Published 7:39 pm Saturday, March 4, 2023
Vicksburg High is off to a rocky start this baseball season. To start winning, coach Antonio Calvin said, the Gators first need to stop beating themselves.
Several defensive lapses led to a couple of big innings, and a last-ditch comeback came up just short as Vicksburg lost 12-10 to Terry on Saturday. It was the kind of uneven performance that Calvin said has been plaguing his team all season.
Vicksburg finished 19-9 in 2022 and won its first region championship since 2009. Saturday’s loss dropped its 2023 record to 2-4.
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“Their pitching today probably topped out at 75. We just came out flat the same way we have all year,” Calvin said. “I don’t know if it’s a layover from last year’s success or is it the fact that our guys truly believe that these games will be given to them. Instead of coming every day to play, we’re just showing up at the ballpark and those guys are taking advantage of our weaknesses.”
Terry scored 11 of its 12 runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings Saturday. Tyler Littlejohn went 4-for-4 with three RBIs and four runs scored. Chance Jackson and Carlos Sanders both had two hits and RBIs.
Blake Wiginton hit an RBI double during a six-run burst in the fifth inning that helped the Bulldogs take a 12-5 lead.
Vicksburg mounted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. Three walks and a hit batter were mixed around an RBI single by Braylon Green and a two-run double by Tyler Carter to cut it to 12-10.
Carter’s hit brought the tying run to the plate with no outs, but the Gators stalled out. Littlejohn took the mound in relief and shut down the rally by retiring three consecutive batters.
Carter finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Mincer Minor was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored, and Green was 1-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored.
Vicksburg had 10 hits, but left 11 runners on base.
“We had the bases loaded and no outs three times and we wound up walking away with no runs because guys are striking out looking, guys are swinging at things they have no business swinging at,” Calvin said. “Hopefully these guys will lock in and focus. If not, it’s going to be a really long season for us.”
The Gators will play their next five games on the road. They’re at Natchez on Tuesday and Greenville on March 10, and then they’ll play three games in a spring break tournament at Southwest Mississippi Community College March 13 and 14.
The Region 4-5A schedule begins in earnest after that, with 10 of the last 17 games within the league. Vicksburg is 2-0 in Region 4-5A after beating Jim Hill twice this week — the one silver lining in its sluggish start — and Calvin remains hopeful the Gators can shake off their early-season blues before the most important games arrive.
“Right now we’re making mental mistakes that are costing us runs and costing us ballgames. There’s no team that we’ve played this year that would have beat us last year,” Calvin said. “But right now we’re having a slight identity crisis. Prayerfully, we’ll find ourselves before our next game.”