Warren Central falls in series opener against Saltillo

Published 12:38 am Friday, May 3, 2024

It wasn’t one big inning that did in Warren Central on Thursday night. It was a bunch of little ones stacked up on top of each other.

Saltillo scored in each of the first five innings, and pitchers Jordan Evers and Karson Bailey held Warren Central without a hit for the last three innings as the Tigers won 7-3 in Game 1 of a second-round MHSAA Class 6A playoff series.

“We’ve got to clean it up on defense, obviously. I thought their hitters did a pretty good job of hitting some good pitches that fell for them. We hit some balls on the nose, too, that were outs,” Warren Central coach Randy Broome said. “At the end of the day, it’s baseball. You’ve got to regroup, get ready to go do what they did here. We’ve got to go do the same thing up there.”

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Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Saturday at 7 p.m. at Saltillo. Warren Central (15-11) needs to win to force a deciding Game 3 back at Viking Field on Monday night.

The Vikings had an eight-game winning streak snapped.

“We’ve got two choices — sit there and feel sorry for yourself; or get your minds back right and let’s go compete Saturday,” Broome said. “That’s all I want them to do is go compete. If we do that, we’re going to have a chance to win a ballgame.”

After the teams traded runs in the first inning, Saltillo (19-12) scored two in the second and two more in the third to gain some separation.

An error and a wild pitch contributed to the two second-inning runs. In the third, Jacob Gore hit an RBI double to the gap in center field and scored when Ethan Arriola tripled to right field.

Warren Central’s Cade Fairley dove for Arriola’s sinking line drive and missed, allowing the ball to roll to the fence. A similar play on a liner to left field in the fourth inning resulted in an RBI double for Cooper Burleson.

Warren Central scored twice in the third inning as Maddox Lynch hit an RBI triple and scored on Fairley’s sacrifice fly. Two-out singles by Lester Martin in the third inning and Talan Patel in the fourth were the team’s only hits after that, though.

Evers and Bailey each hit a batter, but no Warren Central runners got past second base after Lynch scored.
Lynch finished 2-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBIs. Ryan Nelson was 2-for-3 and scored two runs.

WC relief pitchers Nathaniel Moore and Ryan Steed combined to allow two runs in four innings, after starter Conner Watkins was knocked out of the game after the third inning.

For Saltillo, Evers had five strikeouts in six innings and Bailey pitched a scoreless seventh.

“We were in it. It’s a four-run ballgame with the top of our order coming up. They got some runners on after a couple of errors, but at the end of the day our pitchers showed up,” Broome said. “They threw some good pitches and we were in the ballgame. It’s about all you can ask for, especially when things aren’t going your way.”

MHSAA Class 6A playoffs, second round
Game 1 – Saltillo 7, Warren Central 3
Game 2 – Warren Central at Saltillo, May 4, 7 p.m.
Game 3 – Saltillo at Warren Central, May 6, 7 p.m. (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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