Solid defense lifts Vikings past Bolton

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 7, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Vidalia head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir was just glad to get his team back on the field after the heavy rains that hit the area during the past two weeks forced his team to cancel its last four games.

Despite the layoff the Vikings showed little signs of rust as they used some outstanding defense coupled with timely hitting to beat Bolton (Alexandria, La.) 7-4 on Tuesday.

Bolton jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a 3-run homer by Kyle Ogaard, but the lead wouldn’t hold as the Vikings played well on both offense and defense over the final five frames.

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&uot;We got off to a slow start, but I think that was simply because we hadn’t played in quite a while,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;The rust might have been there early, but we played well overall.&uot;

Two Vidalia errors allowed Bolton to push the lead to 4-0 in the top of the second before the Vikings got the offense jump started in the third.

An RBI sacrifice by Ryan Boles scored Jarrett Hoffpauir for the Vikings’ first run of the game, and one batter later Bryan Bennett cut the lead to 4-3 with a towering 2-run homer to right field.

&uot;Bennett’s home run really provided a spark for our offense,&uot; coach Hoffpauir said. &uot;Hitting is contagious, and that shot really seemed to get our offense going.&uot;

Vidalia took the lead for good with 3 more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Trey White and Bubba Wyles opened the bottom half of the inning with back-to-back singles. Jarrett Hoffpauir was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs before Barry Bowden collected an RBI when he drew a free pass.

A costly Bolton error allowed two more runs to cross the plate to give the Vikings a 6-4 advantage.

The visitors threatened to cut into the Viking lead in the top of the fifth, but an outstanding defensive play by Jarrett Hoffpauir got the Vikings out of the jam.

&uot;That double play was certainly a big play for us,&uot; coach Hoffpauir said. &uot;Our defense overall was good for no more time than we have had on the field in the past week or so.&uot;

Trey White singled and scored in the bottom of the fifth to give Vidalia an insurance run and a 7-4 lead, and the defense made sure the lead held as the Vikings improved to 6-1 on the year.

The younger Hoffpauir collected the win in relief of Barry Bowden. Hoffpauir threw four solid innings and allowed no runs on only one hit.

Bowden went three innings and allowed his first earned runs of the season when Bolton struck for the 4 early runs.

Up next for Vidalia is a home date with Crowville on Friday in a tournament hosted by the Vikings. First pitch is scheduled for 5:45 p.m.

Eight teams will participate in the tourney that starts on Thursday, and the championship game will be played on Saturday. Admission is $3.