Donald has visions of state championship

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 13, 2000

Records are made to be broken. Vidalia High senior Rod Donald wants something that will remain forever — a state championship.

Donald has been a part of Vidalia teams that have been eliminated from the first round and to the state semifinals.

&uot;I’m really wanting a state championship,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;But we’re taking it one at a time so we can be prepared for the chance to play for state. We have to concentrate on winning district first. But it would be a great way to go out my senior year.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Not that competing in the playoffs has not been exciting.

&uot;It’s amazing just experiencing that type of atmosphere,&uot; he said.

Vidalia won the Class 2A state championship in 1996. Rod’s brother Glen was a member of that team. Rod was in the eighth grade at the time.

&uot;It was great watching when they charged the field,&uot; Rod said. &uot;It’s something I would love to go through.&uot;

Donald is the Vikings’ ace, even though his 2-4 record may not show it.

All four losses were one-run setbacks to traditional powers. Donald’s earned run average is 2.22. He has struck out 57 batters over 44 innings.

&uot;We’ve played some real tough programs to get ready for district and the playoffs,&uot; he said. &uot;I&160;feel like I’ve been pitching well. I’d give up that big hit at the wrong time in my losses.&uot;

Donald is hitting the ball better this year than he has in the past. He is currently hitting .431 with 29 RBIs.

&uot;I’m seeing the ball well ,&uot; he said.

Donald, the son of Gerard and Regina Donald of Vidalia, put his name in the Vidalia High record books by hitting his 10th home run this year against Block to give him 26 homers over his career, breaking the 25-round-tripper mark set by Gregg Johnson from1994-97.

He admits he’s thrilled to have the career home run record.

&uot;At the first of the year I wasn’t worried about it,&uot; he said. &uot;I was just wanting to have a good year and hopefully go on to college. But all of a sudden over the first eight games I had six home runs. I was either hitting a home run or getting hit by a pitch. It feels real good to break the record, especially to be able to do it at home,&uot; he said

Donald also holds the season mark of most times hit by a pitch with 10 this year.

Rod credits Glen with being one of his biggest supporters.

&uot;He picks me up and he wants me to do better than him -&160;he’s always been that way,&uot;&160;Rod said. &uot;He’s always coming up to me and telling me I can do it. He’s a great brother.&uot;

Both boys excelled in football , as well.

Football helped me get in shape mentally and physically,&uot; Donald said. &uot;It got me in great physical condition and I would have to stay in shape after football. I worked out hard before baseball and I guess that’s where my power is from.&uot;

Donald began playing baseball in T-ball. He came up through the Dixie Youth Baseball League, at times being coached by current Vidalia High coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir.

&uot;There were times Jarrett (Hoffpauir) and I would be on the same team and Coach Hoffpauir was the coach,&uot; Donald said. &uot;Other times&160;I was on another team. Dixie Youth helped me a lot.&uot;

Now he hopes to continue that ascent.

&uot;I always dreamed about playing at the next level,&uot; he said.

That next level is right around the corner.

&uot;I was telling (teammate) Kevin (Laird) the other day coming out of school that it’s almost over,&uot;&160;he said. &uot;We just got our yearbooks and everybody signed them. I don’t want to say this is my last chance to play baseball, even though I’m playing it like that.&uot;