Vikings move into final eight

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 30, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Vidalia moved one step closer to its dream of another state championship on Monday with an 11-1 win in five innings against visiting South Beauregard in the second round of the Louisiana 2A playoffs.

The Vikings were hitting on all cylinders against the Golden Knights. Sophomore pitcher Barry Bowden went the distance on the mound and limited South Beauregard to just one hit. The offense was equally effective with the Viking hitters chasing the Knights’ starting pitcher after just 1 and 1/3 innings.

&uot;I thought our strengths really came out today,&uot; Vidalia skipper Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said. &uot;We hit the ball well, especially in the early innings. We also got a great game from Barry (Bowden), and our defense was consistent other than a couple of errors in the fourth when we just got into too much of a hurry.&uot;

The Viking offense started producing immediately for Hoffpauir as his troops pounded out four-consecutive hits in the bottom of the first on their way to an early 3-0 advantage.

Bryan Bennett was the first Viking to reach base against South Beauregards’ Kevin Hare when he was patient enough to draw a free pass with two outs.

That seemed to get the offense jump started.

Chris Williams followed with a single, and Bowden then drove in the first run of the game with a RBI single.

Trey White followed with a single to load the bases for Ryan Boles, who took advantage of the opportunity by driving in two runs with a double.

Doubles by Jarrett Hoffpauir and Jamie Fuqua helped the Vikings to two more runs and a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the second. And when Bubba Wyles followed with a RBI single it signaled the end for Hare.

An error in the top of the third allowed South Beauregard to score its only run of the contest, but the Vikings more than made up for the mistake in the bottom half of the inning when they scored seven runs to move in front 11-1.

Bennett had a big 2-RBI double in the inning, and Chris Williams also picked up a RBI with a single.

The 10-run cushion was more than enough for Bowden, who had one of his best outings of the season to help Vidalia improve to an outstanding 26-4 on the year.

&uot;Barry did exactly what we were hoping he could,&uot; Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said. &uot;He’s just a sophomore, and he is going to do some great things for this team over the next couple of years.&uot;

The win sends the Vikings into the state quarterfinals against the winner of Monday’s contest between Springhill and De Quincy. Regardless of the outcome of that contest Vidalia will be on the road.

The game will most likely be played on Thursday, but the exact date and time has yet to be determined.

A win in the quarterfinals would send the Vikings to the state semifinals to be held in Baton Rouge.