Lady Vikes beat Vicksburg to run winning streak to six games

Published 8:27 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Warren Central entered playoff prep mode for the final week of the softball regular season, with gearing up for what’s just around the corner as much of a goal as closing out its region schedule.

That includes grinding out some hard-fought victories like the one on Tuesday.

The Lady Vikes took the lead for good by scoring four runs in the third inning, and took advantage of 10 walks and seven errors to beat Vicksburg High 6-2 on senior night.

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The Lady Vikes (19-4, 6-1 MHSAA Region 2-6A) won for the sixth time in a row, and 11th time in 12 games. This was the first time in seven games that they have not scored at least 10 runs.

“We’re at playoff time now. Every game’s a playoff game, pretty much. At the end of a game, we got a W. I don’t care if it’s one run or 20 runs,” Warren Central coach Brian Ellis said. “I understand that they wanted to win big on senior night, but we don’t need to put that much pressure on ourselves. If we play our game, we’re a pretty dang good ball team.”

Vicksburg (5-19, 3-6) was much more competitive than in its previous outing against Warren Central, when it lost 24-6 on April 3. Zion Harvey hit an RBI single, and Makynzie Dunmore reached base twice and scored two runs.

The Missy Gators still lost their third game in a row, though, and will head into the Class 6A playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 2-6A. They’ll face Region 1-6A champion South Panola in a best-of-three series that begins April 26.

Warren Central will be the No. 2 seed from Region 2-6A and play Grenada or Lake Cormorant. The Lady Vikes close out the regular season with two games this week — at Neshoba Central on Wednesday and home vs. Brookhaven on Thursday — and are trying to reach the 20-win mark for the first time since 2014.

Ellis said his team has shown the right attitude to be a dangerous postseason opponent for whoever they face.

“We’ve been on an even keel. We don’t get too down, we don’t get too excited. Everybody wants the ball. That’s what you’ve got to do,” he said.

They did exactly that Tuesday by gutting their way through a sloppy game in which they were battling both the emotion of senior night — the team has eight seniors on the roster — and the River City Rivalry match-up with Vicksburg.

The Lady Vikes committed five errors of their own, including three on a botched rundown in the third inning that allowed Dunmore to score the first run of the game. Dunmore was caught between second and third on a ground ball, but evaded a tag and advanced to third and then home on two overthrows.

The Lady Vikes responded with their four-run inning in the bottom half, however, to take control.

A double by Makayla Jackson and two walks loaded the bases, leading to a sacrifice fly by Madison Pant and an RBI single by Tyra Bridges. Two runs also scored on two throwing errors on a stolen base attempt, leaving Warren Central ahead 4-1.

WC added another run in the fourth inning on another error, and one more in the sixth on Jenn Smith’s RBI single.

Jackson finished 2-for-4 with one run scored, Sarah Cameron Fancher walked three times and scored twice, and Bridges was 2-for-4 with one RBI. All three are seniors.

Pant, a sophomore, pitched a complete game and finished with eight strikeouts.

“It made it a little bit tougher,” Ellis said of the emotions of the game. “We had some leadoff hits and ended up getting outs because we were trying to be a little bit too aggressive. That cost us some big innings. The emotions were all on and (Vicksburg) played well.”

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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