Sore arm puts Bowden on shelf
Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003
BATON ROUGE &045; Woulda, shoulda, coulda?
It was a hot topic during the game of how Bowden’s absence from the mound for the start of the game for the first time this postseason would affect Vidalia.
Hoffpauir said the shoulder pain in Bowden’s throwing arm was to severe and there was no way he could’ve thrown Tuesday or today if the Vikes had made it.
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&uot;I don’t know what we would’ve down if we had made it to tomorrow,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;Barry is a dominant pitcher who keeps you in the ball game. I don’t know if it would’ve affected the outcome. We didn’t hit the ball well tonight. I think it was a mental thing &045; losing two seniors.&uot;
Vidalia lost starting center fielder and leading hitter Trey White to a broken arm he suffered during a jet ski accident two weekends ago.
The consummate leader, Bowden shouldered much of the blame for the sour ending.
&uot;I think it made a little bit of difference. I feel like I let the team down, not be able to pitch. It hurt every time I through across the infield. We came up short of where we wanted to be. It sucks.&uot;
&045; Johnny Lee Hoffpauir is not one much for goodbyes, and his collection of seniors this year made the transition after Tuesday’s game even more difficult.
Just four senior starters depart, but their importance from their freshmen years to now cannot be measured, Hoffpauir said.
&uot;I told them every year it’s tough to lose seniors, but this bunch was special,&uot; he said. &uot;They got to come to the state tournament two years in a row. They left me with a bunch of good memories from their freshman year to seniors.&uot;
As a group Barry Bowden, Trey White, Hank Marling and Ty Eicemann won nearly 100 games in their four years &045; that’s almost a third of Hoffpauir’s 349 career wins.
And if you think Bowden is ready to move on to Southern Miss in the fall, where he is a commitment of head coach Corky Palmer’s, wake up and smell the catfish plates.
&uot;It won’t be the same. I won’t be playing for my hometown, and I won’t be hitting either,&uot; said Bowden, whose ERA was below 0.50 this season. &uot;I like to swing the bat because I’m a free swinger.&uot;
TAKE THAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS
&045; Vidalia once again the lone remaining public school team to compete at this year’s state championship.
Besides the Vikes opponent St Fredrick from Monroe, Ouachita Christian School and its semifinal matchup Newman from New Orleans rounded out the field.
&uot;It’s disappointing to not reach your goal, but this was by no means a disappointing year,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;We’re the public school champs again. This won’t be the last time we’re the last public school standing.&uot;
TURNING THINGS AROUND &045; This year’s St. Fred team is a far cry from the 10-20 ball club from a year ago.
Head coach Todd Moore cleaned house and brought in two new assistants this season and the attitude throughout has always been upbeat and positive, he said.
&uot;That’s the way this team is. They’ve come back through some adversities and become what you see now,&uot; Moore said. &uot;We had one goal in mind and we’re close to achieving it.
MAKING THE DRIVE &045; Not only did Vidalia fans represent themselves well with constant encouragement and the steady ringing of the cowbells, but they also had some Division I support.
Former Vidalia player Jarrett Hoffpauir drove down with Southern Miss teammate Matt Shepherd for Tuesday’s game.