Right-hander throws one of best games as Vidalia beats Minden

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 1, 2004

VIDALIA, La. &045; If Mac Ware has ever backed down from a challenge, he may never do so again.

On Friday night the Vidalia right-hander was in for a big challenge. Up against Minden’s hard-throwing right-hander in Riley Hollingsworth, it was up to Ware to throw as well as he could to keep his team in the game.

So when the storyline from this game included a pitcher carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning and finishing with a one-hitter, you’d think it was Hollingsworth.

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Ware threw one of his best outings of his life for the Vikings with a one-hitter &045; an infield single &045; as the Vikings took a 2-0 win over the Class 4A Crimson Tide at the VHS Invitational.

&uot;Heck of a ball game right there,&uot; Vidalia head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said. &uot;That was a fine pitchers’ duel, and our guys stepped up at the right time. It’s like we told them before the game &045; ‘Guys, you’re about to be in a heck of a ball game. You can’t take anything away from Mac. He had great mound presence tonight. I can’t say enough about how he battled out there with a guy throwing 88, 89 and 90 miles per hour.&uot;

Ware nearly matched Hollingsworth pitch for pitch, and the two pitchers’ final stats sound similar. Ware allowed the one hit while walking three, while Hollingsworth struck out 16, walked one, hit two batters and allowed three hits.

As for Hollingsworth, who signed with LSU-Eunice before the season, it was kind of the same ol’ song. His last two games he has struck out 33 batters, but the Crimson Tide was shut out in both games.

&uot;Riley threw the game we needed him to throw,&uot; Minden head coach Dean Francis said. &uot;He just didn’t get any run support. He’s pitched 14 innings for us, and we’ve yet to put runs on the board for him. When you don’t hit, it’s tough to win. But I thought that (VHS) pitcher did a heck of a job.&uot;

The Vikings had plenty of struggles against Hollingsworth in the first three innings before breaking out in the fourth with three straight doubles. Brett Hinson jumped on a 1-2 curveball and slapped it down the left-field line for the first hit, and Jeffrey Anderson put one off the wall in center to score Hinson for the game’s first run.

Graham Roberts then doubled to deep right to score Anderson for the 2-0 lead.

&uot;He was throwing high 80s,&uot; Hinson said. &uot;I knew what he was going to throw, and I sat back on it. That’s all I could do. I think he got two outs (in that inning) and settled down a little bit. I got that hit, and hitting is contagious. Everybody else started hitting.&uot;

The Crimson Tide couldn’t get a hit but managed to bunt its way to a rally in the fourth inning. Kyler Plunkett laid down a bunt to third to lead off the inning, but the throw was wild. Jacob Watkins walked, and Hollingsworth launched a fly ball to deep right center that could have been trouble had Anderson not ran it down for a nice catch.

Runners tagged on the play and got to second and third with two outs, but Ware struck out Ace Davis to end the inning.

Outside of that fourth, Hollingsworth as intimidating as he was effective. Armed with a nasty hard curveball he once threw on a full court, Hollingworth walked just one and hit two batters with just three Vidalia batters being retired by putting the ball in play.

In the sixth Hollingsworth put Chris Williams and Brett Hinson on by hitting both with pitches, but he came back and struck out Anderson and Roberts to end the inning.

The Crimson Tide also left a runner stranded on third in the fifth inning against Ware. Chris Toland reached on a walk, went to second when a pickoff attempt from catcher Chris Williams was wild and to third on a sacrifice bunt from David Martin.

But Ware got Dakota Haynes and Derek Capples to strike out to end the inning.