Mistakes prove costly for Warren Central in loss to Sumrall

Published 10:01 pm Thursday, February 22, 2024

FLOWOOD — Warren Central’s curious pattern of stuggling at the plate early in games continued Thursday.

That was far from its only problem, though.

The Vikings’ pitchers walked eight batters and hit two, their fielders committed two errors, and the mistakes piled up high enough to bury them in a 7-2 loss to Sumrall in the Mid-Mississippi Classic.

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“We lost the freebie war,” Warren Central coach Randy Broome said. “When we kick the ball around and let runners walk down to first base, you’re not going to win many ballgames. That’s it in a nutshell.”

S.T. Maust doubled, drove in one run and scored two for Sumrall (3-0), and pitcher Drew Davis had nine strikeouts in six innings.

Davis’ strong outing kept Warren Central (1-3) in a bizarre offensive pattern. It has yet to score a run in the first four innings of any game this season.

The Vikings have managed to stay competitive — they’ve scored in the fifth inning in all four games, and two of their three losses came on the final pitch — but it caught up to them Thursday.

“I’m trying to figure that out myself. We swing the bat a lot at practice. We turn the machine up on some velo and that kind of stuff, we’ve had some intersquad games. I don’t know the answer to that,” Broome said. “Swinging and missing at a lot of fastballs is concerning. Our offensive philosophy is to hit fastballs. Doing it right now seems to be a problem.”

Struggling at the plate did not help matters Thursday, but the loss to Sumrall was a total team effort.

Starting pitcher Conner Watkins issued two bases-loaded walks in the bottom of the first inning, and Maust hit an RBI double in the second. An error and an RBI single by Leo Odom in the third pushed the lead to 6-0, and the Bobcats added one more run in the fifth inning on a wild pitch.

Warren Central scratched two runs across in the top of the fifth as Ryan Nelson hit an RBI double and Cade Fairley a sacrifice fly. Davis got out of trouble with a strikeout, however, and the Vikings did not have another baserunner in the last two innings.

“We hit backward a little bit tonight, taking fastballs and chasing stuff out of the zone. All the way around it wasn’t a very good ballgame, not on our part,” Broome said.

The only silver lining is that the Vikings won’t have a lot of time to dwell on their bad day. They’re back on the field Friday at 4 p.m. vs. North Pike and Saturday at 1 against Starkville in the Mid-Mississippi Classic. Both games are at Ridgeland High School.

On Tuesday night they’ll come back to Flowood to face MAIS powerhouse Jackson Prep.

“That’s what’s great about baseball — you don’t have to wait a week. I tell them that all the time. We’ll play another good team tomorrow. Another good team Saturday. Another good team Tuesday,” Broome said. “That’s the mindset we’ve always had here. We try to play the best to get us ready for district games and the playoffs. It’s get it done or it’s going to be a long season.”

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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