Longtime Warren Central softball coach Dana McGivney stepping down at season’s end

Published 8:37 pm Monday, April 10, 2023

Warren Central’s softball team suffered two notable losses on Monday.

The first came on the field, where the Lady Vikes lost 6-0 to Northwest Rankin in a game to decide the MHSAA Region 6-6A championship.

The second came afterward, when longtime head coach Dana McGivney told her players she is leaving at the end of the season. McGivney, who has been at Warren Central since 2006, has accepted an offer to coach at Oxford High School next year.

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“My expectation was to retire from Warren Central. But they made an offer that I couldn’t turn down,” McGivney said. “Unfortunately it is a career and not just fun, as much as I hate to leave my kids.”

McGivney said she held off telling her team as long as she could so as not to disrupt the flow of a good season. Monday’s loss means the Lady Vikes will finish second in Region 6-6A, but they still have a 12-10 record and what appears to be a roster capable of making a solid postseason run.

Three players — pitcher Abby Morgan, catcher Lola Crozier and center fielder Kayleigh Karel, the team’s only seniors — have signed with junior colleges.

The Class 6A playoffs begin April 21.

“What I wanted to focus on this season was the kids and their play, and not me leaving at the end of the season,” McGivney said. “That’s why I was holding off. Not because I didn’t want them to know, it’s just because I didn’t want that to be the focus of the season. I wanted them and how we’re playing to be (the focus).”

Although it’s been a good season for the Lady Vikes, Monday was not one of their better outcomes. Northwest Rankin (22-2, 5-0 Region 6-6A) creeped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and then blew it open with four runs in the fifth.

Grace Wallis, Jolie Hays and Chloe Miller all hit RBI singles in the fifth inning, with Hays’ hit making it 6-0. Miller finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, while Brooke Smith was 2-for-4 and scored two runs.

Warren Central only had one hit, a single by Jenn Smith in the fourth inning. Hays, Northwest’s pitcher, racked up 13 strikeouts in a complete-game shutout.

Warren Central’s Abby Morgan had seven strikeouts in six innings, but allowed a season-high nine hits.

“We just had one bad inning where they scored four. It wasn’t anything hard, just bloop hits and a couple of errors,” McGivney said. “They were able to put the ball in play more than we were, and they were able to score some runs and we just unfortunately didn’t.”

Warren Central has four regular-season games remaining, beginning Tuesday at district rival Terry. McGivney said she wants to finish her long tenure at Warren Central on a strong note.

“That’s what I told them, is let’s make a run in the playoffs and show them what we’re made of,” she said. “I’m excited about (Oxford). I’ll be more excited after we hopefully make a run here. I’m not going to worry or dwell on moving until after we do what we need to do here.”