Gators sweep rare tripleheader to win second straight baseball region title

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The Vicksburg Gators went 3-for-1 in their quest for the MHSAA Region 4-5A baseball championship on Tuesday.

Playing a rare tripleheader that was the result of a scheduling snafu and plenty of confidence, the Gators easily swept all three games and clinched their second consecutive region title.

Vicksburg beat Provine 15-0, and then Forest Hill twice by scores of 20-0 and 15-0. Because of the mercy rule, the three games combined lasted only five innings.

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Vicksburg (14-9, 8-0 Region 4-5A) has won its eight region games by a combined score of 129-15.

“It feels pretty good,” Gators coach Antonio Calvin said of winning the region title. “My mission when I first came to Vicksburg High was to leave it in a much better position than which I found it. Right now we’re on a pace to do that. Regardless of who our competition is, our responsibility is to beat them.”

While doubleheaders are common in high school baseball, tripleheaders are not. This one was created after a game between Vicksburg and Provine was rained out last week and rescheduled for Tuesday.

Vicksburg already had a game with Forest Hill on that day. After the Provine game was rescheduled, however, Calvin realized the Forest Hill game was actually a doubleheader.

The Gators had already easily defeated both teams earlier in the season, so Calvin figured his team had the depth and skill to handle the unusual challenge.

“Me, talking at the time, didn’t realize we already had a doubleheader. When I looked at the scheduled and (assistant) Coach Nick Carson reminded me, I was like ‘Forget it, we’ll go on with a tripleheader and see what happens,’” Calvin said. “Because we can do it, and not with our varsity guys — those guys got a few swings in in the first game and they’re sitting down playing shadowboxing — because we can do it with our younger guys it makes it all the more rewarding.”

The Gators’ varsity team did its work in the opener against Provine. Kearris Gilliam hit a solo home run, and seven of the nine starters scored two runs in a 15-0 win that was over after one inning by mutual agreement.

Tyler Carter doubled, and had two RBIs and two runs scored. Mincer Minor and Kealon Bass also doubled, scored twice and had one RBI.

For the last two games vs. Forest Hill, Calvin let his junior varsity roster gain some varsity experience.

The Gators drew 13 walks and scored 20 runs in the bottom of the first inning, through a series of wild pitches and passed balls. Kaleb Doss was 1-for-2 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored, and Mickell Jones was 1-for-1 with one RBI and three runs scored.

Cameron Myles pitched three innings and struck out seven in the 20-0 victory.

The final game of the day was also over in one inning, as the Gators beat Forest Hill 15-0. Peyton Calvin was 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs, and Hunter McKenzie was 2-for-2 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored.

John Moorhead also went 2-for-2 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

“For us not to play around with them, not to mess around with them, to just go on and beat them and get it over with, that’s very rewarding,” Antonio Calvin said. “It would be different if we were beating them but it was a struggle. That would mean we were nowhere near where we need to be when we face stiffer competition.”

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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