Round 2: Vidalia seeks revenge, Lady Bears face stiffer opponent

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 30, 2004

&uot;Scared&uot; Heart? Hardly.

A printable Class 2A playoff bracket off the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Web site reveals a typo under its bi-district round pairings.

The error is meant to read Sacred Heart, as in the Ville Platte school whose softball tradition runs deep.

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Vidalia, whom the Lady Trojans host (maps to Ville Platte are available at Vidalia High School) in the regional round at 4 p.m. Friday, knows this all too well.

Two years ago the Lady Vikings left Evangeline Parish with a 1-0 defeat and a bitter taste in their mouth.

&uot;We came back from that trip not satisfied, and I think it carried over to the next year,&uot; Vidalia head coach Gary Paul Parnham said. &uot;That was on of our driving points last season for the whole team, not just the seniors.&uot;

The impetus was one of the key ingredients the Lady Vikes used in their state championship run in 2003.

Another was the arm of senior Miranda Doughty, currently a freshman at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Doughty pitched 27 innings at Frasch Park in Sulphur, La., the site of the LHSAA state softball tournament.

While Doughty has left, Parnham believes junior ace Christy Corley has exhibited similar qualities of late.

&uot;I’ve always said a team with a good pitcher is always in a ball game,&uot; he said. &uot;I think pitchers can dominate games. Obviously, you can’t go out there with one person and win, but a pitcher that throws hard enough, changes their speeds and throws at spots makes it tough on you.&uot;

Corley did just that in Tuesday’s 8-0 defeat of Springhill, and will be called upon for another heroic effort against Sacred Heart, the District 6-2A champ that defeated Vinton 10-0 Monday.

&uot;As the year has gone on, (Corley’s) gotten better every outing,&uot; Parnham said. &uot;I feel like she’s throwing the ball harder than at the beginning of the season. She’s definitely been one of the catalysts on this team.&uot;

The 2002 matchup saw a pitcher’s duel between Vidalia’s Jenny Watson and VP’s Kristie Vidrine.

While it certainly had shots for a rally, the Lady Vikings’ bats were cold for most of the game, mustering just two hits of the Lady Trojans ace.

&uot;We couldn’t hit a beach ball that day,&uot; Parnham remembered.

Eerily similar to 2002, a Vidalia win and it could possibly play DeQuincy in the quarters if the Lady Tigers can advance, the same circumstance at stake two years ago.

Parnham is well aware that Acadiana has long been a hotbed for softball, both on the high school and college levels. Yet, that doesn’t deter the eighth-year head coach heading into Friday’s showdown.

&uot;We seem to play some pretty good softball over here too,&uot; Parnham said. &uot;I think we can compete with them. It’s just they have a long tradition and we’re just starting one here.&uot;

St. Edmund at Block

After his team steamrolled its way to the District 4-1A championship, head coach Kerry Kirby hoped Block would face more of a challenge in Cotton Valley Tuesday, the No. 3 team from District 1.

The Lady Bears didn’t get it with a 15-0 three-inning shellacking, prompting Kirby to be concerned about today’s regional round pairing against St. Edmund, who they host at 3:30 p.m.

&uot;It really makes it tough to transition,&uot; said junior pitcher Glynda Butts, who threw a perfect game against the Lady Wildcats in the bi-district round. &uot;We always think we’re going to face a tough team. We never underestimate anybody.&uot;

It’d be hard to look past the Lady Bluejays, District 5-2A’s runner-up was a 14-0 victor against Haynesville Monday.

How good is District 5? All three of its teams advanced to the regional round earlier this week, with each one posting shutouts.

South Cameron, the third-place team, upset District 9 runner-up Port Sulphur 4-0.

&uot;St. Ed’s always has a solid program,&uot; Kirby said. &uot;I think they had three teams fighting it out for tops in their district this year.&uot;

Still, Block shows no signs of being intimidated. Rightly so.

The Lady Bears purposefully played up against teams from 2A, 3A and 5A in order to be better prepared for the playoff since their district is routinely uncompetitive.

&uot;I think I’m more anxious than they are,&uot; Kirby said of his players. &uot;They have the attitude where they’re ready for it, they want to get back to state. We’re not going to overlook (St. Ed’s), but we’ve had our goal set all year long to get back to state.&uot;

Frasch Park is a familiar place for Block, which has been bounced from the quarterfinals in each of the last two years.

Last year’s team, which featured senior standouts Dani McMillin and Catessa Branch, lost 10-1 to eventual state champion Sterlington.

The Lady Bears have

made six consecutive appearances in the regional round.

&uot;Right now we know how to act in the playoffs,&uot; Kirby said. &uot;We understand that we’ve gotta buckle down and play ball.&uot;