Vidalia back at home for tournament

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Early-season high school baseball tournaments can be as exhausting as running a marathon.

The usual three- and four-day weekend affairs require coaches to choose the correct pace for their teams, so that they can stay on an even keel until the championship game.

Pressing early means by the weekend the gas gauge is rapidly approaching the ‘E.’

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&uot;We got to four tournaments a year and everyone is guaranteed to play in three ballgames,&uot; Vidalia head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said. &uot;We’re use to playing two a day. But there is some concern over injury and focus.&uot;

So after spending the past two weekends in Mangham and Alexandria &045; successful, mind you &045; Hoffpauir is glad to return home for this weekend’s Vidalia Tournament, which begins today with the Jena-Block matchup at 4 p.m.

Cathedral follows with Caldwell, a Class 3A school from Columbia, La., at 6:15 p.m. with the Vikings (8-0) not taking the field against Avoyelles until 5:45 p.m. Friday after Winnsboro and Crowville open at 3:30 p.m.

&uot;We just go out there and play our game,&uot; Hoffpauir said of Vidalia not knowing a lot about its opponent. &uot;We’ll do a little scouting and go from there. If a team beats us, we’ll go down playing the style of ball we like to play.&uot;

What the Vikings’ skip, in his 14th year with Vidalia, does know about the Mustangs is they have everyone back from a squad that played in the Vidalia tourney for the first time last year.

Hoffpauir’s probable starter for Friday is Brett Hinson, but feels comfortable that any of his other two aces &045; Barry Bowden and Mac Ware &045; are rested and ready to go.

Trey White threw four innings in a 12-2 victory Monday.

The Vikings’ team earned-run -average is microscopic, less than 1.00, while the club’s batting average climbing to .300.

Hoffpauir said usually those statisics are reversed for Vidalia.

&uot;This is an atypical Vidalia team. Hitting has always been our strong point, but right now pitching is carrying us,&uot; Hoffpauir said.

&uot;The kids know what to expect. They work hard and take the game seriously. It’s an enjoyable bunch.&uot;

The two tournaments the Vikings have participated in this year &045; Magham and last weekend in Alexandria at Bolton High &045; have been rough because of the hangover time between games, Hoffpauir said.

After edging Leesville 2-1 at 11:30 a.m. last Saturday, Vidalia waited nearly 10 hours before polishing off St. Edmund’s 7-1 in the finals at the Bolton tournament around 8:30 p.m.

&uot;When it finally came time our kids were focused,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;They responded and came ready to play. I was proud of them for building it back up during that long stretch.&uot;


After splitting a pair of games at the McComb Tournament Monday, Green Wave head coach Ken Beesley had more on his mind for Tuesday’s practice than teaching how to it a curve or disgusing a change-up.

With 13 errors in two games, 10 in a 16-9 loss to Brookhaven, Beesley sat his team down to examine what went wrong.

&uot;Hopefully come (today) we’ll be able to have a good outing and develop some confidence with our defense,&uot; the first-year Cathedral head coach

and alumnus said.

Beesley will throw Brent Tosspon for the first time all year against Caldwell today and, if the Wave (2-1) can forge a winning path to Saturday, hopes to start Te Riley Saturday.

Riley threw 107 pitches in a Monday 7-4 win over Lawrence County at the McComb Tournament. He was dominant with 11 strikeouts in a complete game where he surrendered just two hits.

&uot;This early in the season pitchers are supposed to be ahead of hitters because they can throw year-round, regardless of the conditions,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;The bats will start coming around for us, especially when we can get some production out of the bottom part of our order.&uot;

After Monday’s split, Beesley expresssed some concern that his team was content with winning one game in McComb, a feat that had not been accomplished in four years.

Much of Tuesday and Wednesday was spent drilling into the players’ minds to not get use to settling, he added.

&uot;We tried to get it across to everybody that you can’t go into a tournament hoping to win just one,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;When it comes playoff time, one isn’t going to cut it. We’ll be in the best-two-out-of-three series and every game counts.

&uot;Hopefully this weekend will be a good test for us. It will be interesting to see how we repsond to back-to-back games on the same day.&uot;