Lady Vikes win another thriller against Germantown

Published 11:09 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Warren Central’s softball team is, admittedly, developing a bad habit.

Like a lot of bad habits, though, this one is just too much fun to quit.

Jenn Smith scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Lady Vikes defeated Germantown 4-3 Tuesday for another come-from-behind victory.

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In four of its eight games this season, Warren Central (6-2) has either scored or given up the winning run in the sixth inning or later. This was the third time it has won in that scenario.

“It’s a terrible habit,” Smith said with a laugh. “But I feel like we finally figure out what they’re doing and what we can fix. We always run up and down the dugout telling each other what we can and can’t do. We go into every inning thinking if we don’t score, they don’t score. And if they score, we score. We’re always trying to win every inning.”

Although they’d like to find easier paths to victory, the Lady Vikes are certainly enjoying their wild rides. Not only has it made for some exciting games, it’s giving them confidence that they’re never out of it no matter how hopeless the situation seems.

They overcame a 3-0 deficit Tuesday by scoring three times in the bottom of the sixth inning and then the winning run in the seventh. Earlier this season against Florence they erased a 9-2 deficit to win in extra innings. Against Madison Central, a four-run rally in the sixth inning propelled them to a wild 11-7 victory.

“We’re battling. These kids don’t take no for an answer,” Warren Central coach Brian Ellis said. “They battle and they found a way to pick people up when they’re down and pick up their teammates. We played a solid ballgame tonight.”

Tuesday’s victory flowed out of a mix of that growing confidence and some patience. The Lady Vikes left two runners on base in both the third and fifth innings and were on the brink of leaving them loaded in the sixth.

Mari Kynlea Ferguson, however, lined a single into right field to bring in two runs and tie the game at 3. Maddie Pant had hit an RBI single earlier in the inning to bring in Warren Central’s first run of the game.

Germantown pitcher Addison Lindley had 13 strikeouts, but allowed six hits and seven walks. Five of the walks came in the fifth inning or later.

“We found a way to finally start getting to (Lindley) a little bit. The last two or three innings she started having to throw more pitches to get out of the inning,” Ellis said.

Pant retired the side in order in the seventh to cap an outstanding pitching performance. She allowed three runs, but did not walk a batter and had seven strikeouts.

“Maddie battled tonight. She didn’t give up a freebie and I don’t know how many strikeouts she had,” Ellis said. “She was really upbeat. Her teammates were keeping were upbeat and she owned the circle tonight.”

In the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Vikes completed their latest comeback. Smith led off with a double for her second hit of the game and was bunted to third by Kamryn Morson.

Keke McKay then stepped to the plate and took a high pitch that was barely snagged by Germantown catcher Presley Merkich. The second pitch was also wild, and Merkich couldn’t handle it. Smith broke for home and slid safely across the plate to set off the Lady Vikes’ victory celebration.

“The pitch before it she did that crazy catch. I almost ran because I didn’t see her catch it. I said I’ve got to be ready, because all game she’s thrown multiple pitches that high. So I’ve got to be ready if it happens again,” said Smith, who was 2-for-3 with two runs scored. “Of course it happens again and I just went. It’s like winning the race against the pitcher. It’s fun, to be honest.”

Warren Central beat Germantown (5-2) for the first time in school history. Germantown won the first 12 meetings since 2016, including a 4-2 decision last Saturday in Gluckstadt.

“I just know that every year they’re probably one of our biggest competitors. That’s the game we always think about, and to finally win it feels really good,” Smith said. “Ellis always tells us you have a chip on your shoulder. Stay mad at the people you’re playing against. I feel like that helps with the games coming up.”

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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