Warren Central sweeps Lake Cormorant for first playoff series win since 2019

Published 10:10 pm Saturday, April 27, 2024

For the first time in five years, Warren Central is heading to the second round of the MHSAA baseball playoffs.

Maddox Lynch went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs, and pitched 3 2/3 effective innings as the Vikings beat Lake Cormorant 8-3 on Saturday in Game 2 of their first-round Class 6A series.

Warren Central (15-10) won its eighth game in a row and earned its first postseason series victory since 2019. It’ll face Saltillo or Ridgeland in the second round beginning May 3. Warren Central reached the second round last season, but had a first-round bye as the Region 2-6A champion.

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Saltillo and Ridgeland have split the first two games of their first-round series and will play Game 3 on Monday.

The Vikings used a pair of outstanding pitching performances to sweep Lake Cormorant (16-8). Connor Watkins threw a complete-game shutout in a 1-0 victory in Game 1 on Friday, and in Game 2 it was Lynch and Brooks Willoughby who teamed up to shut down the Gators.

Lynch started and went 3 2/3 innings. He gave up an RBI single to Brayden Collins with two outs in the fourth inning, and an error allowed two more runs to score. Willoughby entered at that point and struck out Grant Mitchell to end the threat.

Willoughby was nearly untouchable after that. The Southern Miss signee closed the game with 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out seven batters.

Both Warren Central pitchers had plenty of run support, too.

Lynch drove in a run with a ground out in the first inning, then in the second Cole Autrey hit an RBI double and scored on a wild pitch for a quick 3-0 lead.

In the fourth, the Vikings extended it to 6-0 with an RBI single from Talan Patel, an RBI double by Ryan Nelson and a bases-loaded walk to Cade Fairley.

Lake Cormorant’s rally against Lynch in the bottom of the fourth cut its deficit in half, but the Vikings put the game away with two more runs in the sixth. Lynch hit an RBI double and scored on Hayes Loper’s base hit.

Nelson finished 1-for-3 with one RBI and two runs scored for Warren Central, while Watkins was 2-for-4 with a triple and one run scored. Autrey also reached base twice and scored twice.