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Vidalia heads to regionals

SANTA FE, Texas — Wesley McCarver and the state champion Vidalia 13- and 14-year-old All-Stars are heading to the next step in their journey to the Junior Softball World Series.

Vidalia will compete in the Junior Softball Regional Tournament in Santa Fe, Texas, Thursday in the double elimination tournament that will decide if they advance to the World Series or if their season is over.

Their first game will be against Colorado at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Vidalia’s journey to regionals has been steady after automatically advancing through the district tournament, and beating Blanchard, a team they previously lost to, in the state championship.

McCarver said his team has done well so far, and he is looking for them to continue their success.

“We just need to carry on what we’ve done so far,” McCarver said. “We don’t need to change anything because we’ve been hitting and pitching really good.”

Though McCarver plans to keep things the same, he has been forced to make some changes beyond his control.

Vidalia starting pitcher Elizabeth Smith will miss regionals because of appendix surgery, and Vidalia must rely on its other pitchers to make up for what Smith brought to the mound.

“I’m really looking for my pitchers to fill the void for (Smith),” McCarver said. “We’re going to play this tournament for her.”

With 12 girls on the roster, McCarver has five players who have made it to regionals before. He said he is relying on their leadership to keep his younger players level headed on the big stage.

McCarver said he shares stories of his past experience at the World Series with his team to motivate them to receive that same experience.

“I tell them how great of an experience it is to play at the World Series,” he said. “Thousands and thousands of girls have played in this league, and only a handful will make it to the World Series.”