JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Vidalia High School senior Roper Craft throws to a teammate during a team practice at Cliff Merritt Memorial Field at the new Concordia recreation complex Wednesday afternoon.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT
Vidalia High School senior Roper Craft throws to a teammate during a team practice at Cliff Merritt Memorial Field at the new Concordia recreation complex Wednesday afternoon.

New-look Vidalia squad

Published 12:07am Thursday, February 28, 2013

VIDALIA — After dropping two games at the Delhi Charter tournament this past weekend, Vidalia High School baseball coach Kale Davis said he’s ready for his team to get on the field.

The recent wet weather has prevented the Vikings from taking to their new field at the Concordia Parish Recreation District 3 complex for a home game, but Davis said the team is hoping to host Bolton High School today for a makeup game.

With a new field comes a new season, and Davis said his team is looking to improve on last season’s 13-15 record. In order to do that, they’ll have to make big strides from what was seen this past weekend at Delhi Charter.

“The kids learned really early this season, take care of business while you have the opportunity,” Davis said. “We’re looking for the team to have a better showing.”

Pitching looks to be a strength for the Vikings this spring, if the numbers are any indication. Roper Craft, Josh Foucher, William Handjis, Cole Cangemi and Alan Doyle will be the main guys in the pitching rotation, and younger players like Dylan Parnham will also get looks.

“All of them have really stepped out here with the work they’ve put in,” Davis said. “It’s just a matter of getting them in games and finding them roles.”

Handjis said expectations are high for this season and didn’t mince words when he talked about the Vikings’ ultimate goal.

“We want a ring,” Handjis said, alluding to a state championship. “That’s the goal.”

And Handjis said the team should have the talent to have a strong season.

“If we play hard and serve God, we can do whatever we put our mind to,” Handjis said.

But talent can’t always make up for experience, and Davis said his team will be younger this season with only three seniors. Craft will man shortstop when he’s not pitching, and third baseman Garrett Rehms and first baseman Nate Thomas round out Vidalia’s seniors.

“They have a lot of potential,” Davis said. “This is Roper’s second year, but the other two have been in the system for four years. We’re looking to them for senior leadership. We want them to be role models, set the bar high for themselves and to lead others.”

Rehms said leading by example is the best way to lead, since the younger players will be watching him and the two other seniors almost all the time.

“We have to get them into the habit of working hard in practice and hope it will help come game time,” Rehms said. “(As a senior), you have to work hard, do right and watch what everyone else is doing, and if people strike out or something, you have to keep (their spirits) up.”

With so much experience in the infield, Davis said that part of the team is pretty much set. As for the outfield, Stewart Mallory, Kyle Coley, Dakota Hunt, Torey Smith, Jaden Ivey and Corey Henson will get looks.

“We’re still looking for someone to take charge in the outfield,” Davis said.

Right now, pitching is ahead of the curve for the Vikings, Davis said.

“It is a luxury to have so many who can throw, even if some of them are younger,” Davis said. “Hopefully the younger guys can get into some (junior varsity) games early and, come district time, they can help us out with pitching.”