Vidalia’s season one for the ages
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Not to label anyone as procrastinators (I’d be a pot calling the kettle black anyway), but folks at Vidalia just recently put up a sign on the field commemorating last year’s Class 2A state runner-up finish.
They might not want to put the tools down for a couple weeks.
The Vikings are poised to have another run in the coming weeks after they finished the regular season 24-0 with a 14-0 trouncing of Crowville &045; one that marked career win No. 346 for head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir.
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But these 24 wins might stand out pretty significantly when you look back.
&uot;You don’t see it much because there are a lot of good teams around and anybody can have a bad day,&uot; said Crowville head coach Jimmy Comeaux, whose club lost three times to Vidalia this season. &uot;Now that district is over, I hope they don’t have a letdown. I hope they can take state. I would have liked for their streak to have ended (against us), but I feel like they’ve got a good chance of going back to the finals.&uot;
Don’t think the Vikings got the unblemished mark by loading up on cupcakes throughout the season. They started the season with wins over Bolton (4A), Leesville (4A), Avoyelles (3A) and won all three matchups against a Cathedral team that’s a game away from a shot at the South State championship.
&uot;It’s a really big accomplishment,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;Going undefeated is something new for us. We played a couple tough teams. The sweep of Cathedral gave us a lot of confidence. Cathedral has a great baseball team. That really got us going. That Bolton tournament &045; that was three good teams we beat. We won our own tournament, and we beat that 5A team out of Arkansas in our Invitational. That was big.&uot;
The close games, you’ll remember, came during the beginning when the Vikings relied on Barry Bowden, Mac Ware and Brett Hinson on the mound and won games to the tune of 2-0.
Slowly but surely the bats started hopping, and defense has improved to put the three together.
&uot;It’s a major accomplishment as a team,&uot; leadoff hitter Trey White said. &uot;We’ve been playing hard all year. Things have been working for us. That’s one thing about us this year &045; one through nine can hit the ball. I know we’ve hit a lot of home runs this year, but we haven’t been depending on that.&uot;
About the weakest part of the schedule was the four games in District 3-2A, but the Vikings disposed of Rayville and Crowville in two-game sets by a combined score of 40-0.
So they’ll face Jena today in a tuneup before brackets are announced Tuesday.
&uot;We don’t draw it up that way, and next year it’s going to be weaker than that,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;That’s always a concern. As long as you can keep your kids mentally focused, you’re going to be OK. And this group will. This is as hard-working a team we’ve ever had. Whatever we ask, they do.&uot;
is sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. You can reach him at (601) 445-3632 or by e-mail at