Vikings smash Pearl, remain undefeated in Region 6-6A

Published 10:52 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023

PEARL — Warren Central kept mashing the baseball and smashing region opponents on Thursday night.

Cade Fairley hit a three-run home run — the Vikings’ 10th in 15 games this season — and Connor Watkins pitched a four-hit shutout as Warren Central crushed Pearl 10-0.

“We’re working offensively on staying on baseballs. We’re not trying to hit everything out of the ballpark. The last two or three games we’ve put up eight or nine hits,” Warren Central coach Randy Broome said. “I feel like what we’ve been practicing, what we’ve been preaching, what we’ve been teaching, now we’re starting to see the results of it.”

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The results include a perfect 3-0 record in MHSAA Region 3-6A. It’s the first time since 2019 that the Vikings (10-6 overall) have won their first three region games, and they have an excellent chance to get to 5-0 by beating Terry twice next week. Terry has lost its first three region games.

“That’s big. The last time, honestly I can’t remember,” Broome said of being 3-0. “There’s still some things to work on, obviously. But all in all, it’s just competing this pitch and we’re starting to buy in to that.”

Watkins had seven strikeouts. He only allowed four hits and no walks — although he did hit two batters — in his five-inning complete game that was shortened by the run rule. He only needed 62 pitches to get through it, and 45 of those were strikes.

“He doesn’t blow up a radar gun, but he’s got confidence in three pitches,” Broome said. “You throw strikes, you’ve got a chance. He filled up the zone and competed, and we made plays behind him.”

The Vikings made plenty of plays at the plate, too.

Fairley drove in two runs with a single as the Vikings took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, and then his three-run home run over the left center field wall in the third made it 6-0.

Fairley finished 3-for-3 with five RBIs.

“It was a hanging curveball. It felt good at the plate. I just sat back and drove it, and helped the team out,” Fairley said of the homer, his first of the season. “It felt great.”

The Vikings added two unearned runs in the fourth inning, and two more in the fifth on back-to-back RBI singles from Blake Channell and Kylan Landers, to go up 10-0.

Channell and Landers both finished 2-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored. Jack Wright was also 2-for-3 with a double, while Maddox Lynch drove in one run and scored another.

Broome was happy to see his team finish off the Pirates (7-9, 1-2) in five innings, after they’d missed a chance to do the same in a 9-2 victory in Vicksburg two days earlier.

“On Tuesday against these guys we didn’t do our job. We had a chance to knock it out in the fifth and save some pitches and couldn’t do it. It helped us a little bit that we were able to tonight,” Broome said. “That’s always big. You knock a few pitches off those pitchers’ arms and now hopefully they’re healthier and stronger down the stretch.”

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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