Lady Vikes cruise past Pearl in softball region opener

Published 11:29 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023

PEARL — Warren Central broke out of its mini-slump almost immediately against Pearl and didn’t stop there.

The Lady Vikes, who had been shut out in three consecutive games, scored seven runs in the first two innings and racked up 11 hits as they routed Pearl 12-0 in their MHSAA Region 6-6A softball opener on Thursday.

Mary Evelyn Hossley went 4-for-4 with one RBI and two runs scored, and Sarah Cameron Fancher doubled and drove in three runs for Warren Central (7-8, 1-0 Region 6-6A).

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“We hadn’t been hitting the ball very well. I thought we hit the ball much better tonight. A lot harder. Definitely the way to start,” Warren Central coach Dana McGivney said. “It’s just knowing we can hit. That’s the thing we’ve been preaching all season, is we can hit. We just have to get out of our heads and get ready. I think tonight maybe was the start of that.”

Fancher hit a two-run double to help stake the Lady Vikes to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Four walks, including two with the bases loaded, led to three more runs in the second.

In the fourth inning, Abby Morgan hit an RBI double while Jenn Smith, Zion Harvey and Hossley hit RBI singles to push the lead to 12-0. The game ended via the run rule after four innings.

“We started off very aggressive. We started stealing bases, bunting, and just squaring up on the ball in general. It really sets the tone for the rest of the game,” Morgan said.

Morgan went 2-for-2 with one RBI at the plate, but really made her mark with her usual dose of brilliance in the pitcher’s circle. The senior struck out eight batters while throwing a four-inning no-hitter that was very nearly a perfect game.

Morgan retired Pearl’s first nine batters before walking Shilo Wells on a full-count pitch to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Wells advanced to third base on a steal and a passed ball, but was stranded there. Morgan snagged a comebacker to the mound for the first out, then struck out the last two batters to end it.

“I wasn’t really thinking. I don’t like to think about having a perfect game or anything like that,” said Morgan, who has 89 strikeouts and a 1.70 ERA in 61 2/3 innings pitched this season. “It made me show myself where to release and get back to my form.”

After winning its region opener, Warren Central will go way out of its region for its next few games. It’ll travel to Batesville to play in South Panola’s weekend tournament.

WC’s games are against Olive Branch on Friday at 3 p.m., and then on Saturday at 10 a.m. vs. Brighton (Tenn.) and at 1 p.m. vs. Oxford.

“It’s just seeing teams we don’t usually get to see, seeing some good competition, having fun and bonding more as a team before we get into the heart of our district schedule,” McGivney said.

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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