NHS can’t stop top-ranked Vikings

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 6, 2001

Top-ranked Warren Central got home runs from Tyler DeRossette and Joey Lieberman and a strong pitching performance from Kyle Simmons as the Vikings defeated the Natchez Bulldogs 7-2 Thursday night at Chester Willis Field.

Warren Central improved its record to 24-1 on the season while Natchez lost its third straight game to drop to 8-6.

&uot;We played well. Warren Central was the better team tonight,&uot; said Natchez head coach Michael Lindsey.

Kevin Coker started the game for Warren Central with a first-pitch double, moved to third on a Taylor Tankersley fielder’s choice and scored on a throwing error by Bulldog starting pitcher Nolan Coward.

Tankersley moved to second on Coward’s error and third on a throwing error by Calvin Jackson and then scored on a Brent Towne double.

Two batters later, DeRossette homered well over the left field fence.

&uot;The first inning was the big key,&uot; Lindsey said. &uot;Their big guy came up and hit the home run.&uot;

That would be all the help that Simmons, the winning pitcher, would need as he held Natchez to no runs and two hits in the first four innings. He pitched a complete-game five-hitter and allowed only two runs while striking out three.

Coward got out of big jams in the second through fifth innings with the help of good defense in the infield.

&uot;I thought we played a good defensive ball game,&uot; Lindsey said. &uot;I can’t complain about the way we played.&uot;

The Bulldogs finally scored in the bottom of the fifth when Floyd Newman tripled to score Marques Kinds from first base. Newmas tried to score on an error, but was thrown out at home by catcher DeRossette.

Warren Central then ended any hopes of a Natchez rally in the top of the sixth when Lieberman hit a fly ball that went over the head of Coward, who was playing second base after being relieved on the mound by Leon Stewart.

The ball rolled away from Coward and Lieberman ended up with a three-run, inside-the-park home run for a 7-1 Viking lead.

Coward pitched five-plus innings in a losing effort, giving up six runs on seven hits while striking out two and walking five.

Natchez’s final run came in the bottom of the sixth when Simmons balked, allowing Jackson to score.

Natchez next plays at Vidalia starting with the junior varsity game at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity game at 7 p.m. Monday.