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Warren Central softball completes dominating sweep of Oxford in playoff opening rounds

OXFORD – It didn’t take long for the Warren Central Vikings (11-15) to pick up where they left off from game one on Saturday. Beating Oxford (5-13) by a final score of 13-3, Warren Central advances to the second round of the 6A state playoffs against DeSoto Central.

“We’ve had a rough season. It’s been a struggle of ups and downs. So to play two playoff games, score 13 runs in both games, it’s a big motivation lifter for us,” said Warren Central coach Dana McGivney. “To score 26 runs in two games is a big confidence booster.”

After their assertive 13-3 win to open the playoffs, the Vikings handed it to the home Chargers in the first inning. Getting off to a 4-0 lead after the top of the first, Warren Central never took their foot off the gas pedal.

A tick-tacky fourth inning consisting of six singles, a double and an intentional walk, all with two outs, led to the big Warren Central fourth inning that put the game out of hand.

The Vikings chased Oxford starting pitcher MJ Jones in the fourth inning, but not before the damage was done. Warren Central tacked 10 runs on Buford before adding an additional two on her replacement in the inning. By the time the half-inning was over, Warren Central held a commanding 12-1 lead.

After scoring one run in the second inning on an error, Oxford did the rest of their damage in the bottom of the fourth. Addy Shorter, a seventh grader, took the Warren Central starter deep to left center field for a two-run shot, cutting the lead to 12-3. The Vikings needed just one more run in the fifth to get the run rule, ending the game in five innings at another 13-3 final.

With the win, Warren Central advances to the second round of the playoffs on Tuesday. They’ll face 15-3 Desoto Central in the second round of the playoffs.

There’s no real way to prepare yourself for a powerhouse team like DeSoto Central in the second round of the playoffs. McGivney said she told the team just to be themselves, not to stray from what got them out of the first round.

“I told them we’re just going to take every game as a new day. It’s not about who we’re playing – it’s about us playing our best softball,” McGivney said. “Hopefully we’ll come out ready to play.”

For Oxford, the loss ends their season. A tumultuous season full of ups and downs, the opening round series was a learning curve for a young team. Getting playoff reps for a team playing, and starting, a handful of middle schoolers is huge. But head coach Tabitha Beard was still disappointed with the early exit.

“I think in a few years this series will pay off big. This is one of those years where it hurt a little bit,” Beard said. “I still feel like at the end of the day, and you might not believe it, that we’re better than Warren Central. But we didn’t show up. We didn’t play and we didn’t hit. We’ve been flat the last two days.”

Warren Central will play DeSoto Central on Tuesday in the second round of the playoffs.