Vikings get back in the swing as prep for 6A championship series begins

Published 10:41 pm Thursday, May 16, 2024

Oftentimes, trudging to baseball practice on a hot, muggy afternoon can seem like a chore.

For Warren Central, it was a privilege.

The Vikings hit the turf at Viking Field for an intrasquad scrimmage Thursday, six days ahead of when they’ll get on the grass at Trustmark Park for Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 6A championship series against George County (29-4).

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It’ll be Warren Central’s first appearance in the state finals since 2001, when it also won its only state title. Even as they got to work, players said they were taking a few moments here and there to appreciate the rare opportunity in front of them.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” pitcher Brooks Willoughby said. “It’s been crazy because every round we’ve gotten through Coach (Randy) Broome has said there’s only this many teams practicing right now and yesterday at practice he said there’s only 14. It’s cool to be a part of that. It’s been a crazy ride and a lot of fun.”

Warren Central is 6-1 in the postseason and has won 12 of its last 13 games overall. It swept Center Hill last weekend for the North State championship, with Willoughby throwing a no-hitter in a 5-0 victory in the Game 2 clincher.

Now the Vikings (19-11) — and the other 13 teams participating in the seven MHSAA championship series — are in a holding pattern until next week. Trustmark Park in Pearl is also the home of the Double-A Mississippi Braves, who are playing a series there this week. The MHSAA moves in next week.

Games begin Tuesday, May 21, when St. Andrew’s plays East Union in the Class 2A finals in the first of four Game 1s scheduled that day. West Marion and East Webster (Class 3A) play at 1 p.m.; Sumrall and Ripley (Class 4A) are at 4 p.m.; and Brandon faces Hernando (Class 7A) at 7 p.m. The same schedule will be used for Game 2 of those series on May 23.

Classes 1A, 6A and 5A will play at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, on May 22 and May 24. Taylorsville and Pine Grove are playing for the 1A championship, and it’s Vancleave vs. Lafayette for the 5A title.

Any Game 3s that are necessary will be played on Saturday, May 25. Tickets are $15 for each day and are available through

Warren Central and George County are meeting for the 6A title in a match-up of programs seeking to end long championship droughts. Warren Central’s last state title came in 2001, and George County’s in 1997.

Warren Central hadn’t even been as far as the semifinals since 2004 despite making 15 consecutive playoff appearances. Coach Randy Broome said he’s always used the three phrases “hustle, compete and be a good teammate” as a core philosophy, and the 2024 squad has taken it to heart to propel its run.

“I think that’s what you’re seeing, is guys believing in one another. Knowing each other’s capabilities. Knowing each other has got their back,” Broome said. “It’s believing and doing those three things first, and then when you get into the games we’re about to get into the pressure part of it shouldn’t be as bad.”

MHSAA Class 6A championship series
At Trustmark Park, Pearl
Game 1 – Wednesday, May 22, 4 p.m.
Game 2 – Friday, May 24, 4 p.m.
Game 3 – Saturday, May 25, TBA (if necessary)
• Tickets are $15 per day and are available through

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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