Hard work pays off for Lady Vikings softball team

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 12, 2001

Just when it seemed like Vidalia High’s varsity softball team couldn’t top last year’s 12-2 start, the Lady Vikings have done just that.

Under fifth-year head coach Gary Paul Parnham, the Lady Vikings are off to a 13-1 start, their best start ever.

As to what has contributed to the record-setting start, Parnham said, &uot;Good pitching and good defense.&uot;

&uot;We don’t make a whole lot of errors,&uot; he said. &uot;We could be hitting better. This past weekend (in the Winnsboro Tournament), this team got the bats swinging. We’re getting a little better every game.&uot;

Unlike previous teams he has coached, Parnham said the thing he likes about this year’s Lady Vikings team is its character. &uot;They’re not going to lay down and quit for anybody,&uot; he said.

That character was put to the test twice in the Winnsboro Tournament, when Vidalia trailed Oak Grove and Mangham in the sixth inning of each game.

&uot;We were down 2-1 against Oak Grove going into our time at bat in the sixth,&uot; Parnham said.

Vidalia came back and won that game 3-2 on an Oak Grove error.

&uot;Against Mangham, we trailed 5-3 with a runner on second and two outs in the sixth,&uot; he said.

What happened next was truly amazing as Amanda Stricklin, Jenny Watson and Jaci Deweese hit consecutive RBI doubles for a come-from-behind 6-5 win.

&uot;Those kind of games are character builders,&uot; Parnham said.

In the Winnsboro Tournament, Parnham gave two of his younger pitchers, sophomores Miranda Doughty and Jenny Watson, a chance to show what they could do, and they didn’t disappoint.

Doughty got her second win of the season in a 7-1 win over Winnsboro and Watson allowed only one run and three hits in a 7-3 win over Crowville in the title game.

&uot;We’re starting to play well at the right time,&uot; Parnham said.

The real test for Vidalia will take place in the next two weeks when they play four straight district games, three of them on the road -Mar. 20 at Crowville, Mar. 23 at Ferriday and Mar. 26 at McCall in Tallulah (originally scheduled for today, but was the field at McCall was unplayable due to Monday’s rain).

The only home game in that stretch is this Friday against Block. &uot;Block is a very good team. They’re going to be tough,&uot; Parnham said.