Lady Vikes shut out St. Martin to take Game 3, series

Published 11:13 pm Monday, April 24, 2023

By popular demand, Dana McGivney’s farewell tour has been extended for at least a few more days.

Abby Morgan pitched her fifth shutout of the season and second in three games, and Warren Central bounced back from an error-filled loss to beat St. Martin 7-0 in Game 3 of their first-round MHSAA Class 6A playoff series on Monday.

“We definitely did not play well on Saturday. We made errors and didn’t hit. Finally tonight, we put it all together and played really well,” said McGivney, the longtime Warren Central coach who will leave to take over Oxford’s program next season. “It’s what we expected to do on Saturday and we didn’t, so we’ve got to learn to play better on the road.”

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Warren Central (17-12) won the series 2-1 to advance to the second round for the first time since 2019. Its next opponent is Region 5-6A champion Brandon (15-5), which it has not played since 2018.

Game 1 is Thursday at Brandon, and Game 2 is Friday at Warren Central. If a Game 3 is needed, it will be Monday at Brandon. All three games are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

“I think it’s really special, because we lost out last year in the first round, and then we didn’t even make it to the first round the year before,” Warren Central outfielder Jenn Smith said of getting past the first round.

The Lady Vikes left 12 runners on base and committed five errors in a 5-4 loss Saturday in Game 2. They shook off that poor performance with some early runs that sent them rolling toward the series-clinching victory.

Morgan and Kamryn Morson hit back-to-back two-out RBI singles, and Jill Smith scored on an error to give the Lady Vikes a 3-0 lead in the first inning.

“That was huge. Just to give you the confidence that we’re back and we’ve got this,” McGivney said.

Warren Central didn’t score again until the fifth inning, when Jenn Smith brought in a run with a sacrifice fly and Adalyn Anderson hit an RBI single.

Two more runs scored in the sixth on a bizarre play. With two outs, Makayla Jackson stole home when the throw back to the pitcher sailed over the head of St. Martin’s Miranda Ladnier.

Sarah Cameron Fancher, who had stolen second base, alertly went to third on the throw home. Then the ball was dropped again in the infield and Fancher hustled toward the uncovered plate. She scored without a play, giving Warren Central a 7-0 lead.

“A long time ago we were up in Grenada and it happened to us, where our pitcher and catcher weren’t paying attention and then the girl ran in and scored,” McGivney said. “So I have seen it. This time it’s nice to be on the right side of it as opposed to the losing side of it.”

With plenty of run support, Morgan cruised through St. Martin’s lineup. The ace right-hander allowed four hits and two walks, and struck out five batters.

In 17 2/3 innings pitched across the three games, Morgan only allowed one unearned run. WC’s other pitcher, Madison Pant, also did not allow an earned run in two innings in Game 2.

“Maddie pitched great the other day and we just didn’t play good defense behind her. Both of our pitchers did a really good job. It was just a matter of playing good defense behind them,” McGivney said.

MHSAA Class 6A softball playoffs, second round
• Game 1 – April 27, 6 p.m., at Brandon
• Game 2 – April 28, 6 p.m., at Warren Central
• Game 3 – May 1, 6 p.m., at Brandon (if necessary)

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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