Digging the long ball: Warren Central clubbing home runs at fastest rate in more than a decade

Published 2:32 pm Monday, March 27, 2023

Warren Central baseball coach Randy Broome insists his team has not changed its approach to hitting. It’s not diving deep into the science of launch angles and exit velocity, nor is it beefing up in the weight room to try and hit more home runs.

They’re just coming naturally.

The Vikings have hit 10 home runs in their first 17 games this season, a pace that could give them their highest total since the introduction of BBCOR bats in 2011.

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“It’s not something we’re wanting to do. But obviously we’ve got some guys that can,” Broome said. “And I think the approach of staying on baseballs is helping them do that, instead of jerking and pulling everything off. I think there’s more to come.”

The home run barrage has come from several different players. Cade Fairley hit a three-run home run in a 10-0 win over Pearl on March 23, making him the fourth Viking to go deep this season.

Fairley joined Kylan Landers (2), Maddox Lynch (3) and Blake Channell (4) in the home run club. Those four players combined for six homers in 2022, and the team total was eight.

In 2011, BBCOR bats designed to reduce the speed of a batted ball and make the game safer were introduced. With them came a vast reduction in the number of home runs. Warren Central hit 13 home runs in 2011, and 18 total over the next seven seasons. It didn’t reach double digits again until hitting 10 in 2018 and 14 in 2019.

Fairley’s home run put Warren Central in double digits in Game 16 of this season. The previous three times it reached that mark in the past decade-plus, it didn’t happen until Game 26 (2011), Game 29 (2018) and Game 28 (2019).

Broome attributed it to simply getting a little more juice on their swings while maintaining the same old approach of trying to hit the ball hard and making things happen.

“It’s the same thing we’ve been preaching since I’ve been there. Nothing has changed offensively with our philosophy. It’s just competing in the box. You’ve always got a chance if you put the ball in play,” Broome said.

The power surge has helped the Vikings (11-6, 3-0 MHSAA Region 6-6A) climb into first place in the region standings heading into this week’s series against Terry. The teams play at Terry on Tuesday at 7 p.m., and back in Vicksburg Friday at 7 p.m.

Warren Central is currently riding a four-game winning streak.

“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,” Broome said after the win over Pearl. “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.”

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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