False River delivers nine-run inning to put away Vidalia

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

VIDALIA, La. &045; You couldn’t miss Glen Donald jumping all over the third-base coaching box during his club’s nine-run third inning.

His False River Academy Gators were playing awfully well in a tough environment, and the coach was all smiles.

&uot;That was the biggest inning we’ve had all year,&uot; the former Vidalia catcher said. &uot;As you could see, I was pretty excited over there.&uot;

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The big inning was enough to sink the coach’s old team Friday night in the second night of the Vidalia tournament. Donald’s club used that nine-run inning to break the game open before taking a 10-2 win in four innings to move into the winner’s bracket of the tournament.

It was a big fear of Vikings head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir, who started to run out of pitching in his club’s first game in the tournament. The Vikings will play at 9:30 a.m. today in loser’s bracket game against Avoyelles.

&uot;We didn’t get it done on the mound,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;Right now we’re &045; how can you put that &045; kind of hanging in limbo with a hurt No. 1 and a No. 2 out of town. When you walk as many people as we walk, you get behind in the count and they’ve got hitters like they’ve got, you’re asking for trouble.

&uot;But we’ll wake up in the morning. Some of these kids haven’t seen 9:30 on a Saturday morning in their lives, so it’ll be a first for them.&uot;

The Gators (5-3) jumped on Vikings pitchers Jordan Brewer and Reid Simpson in that third inning thanks to timely hitting, two walks and two errors. Ray Gunnells may have had the biggest hit of the inning when he put one over the fence in left for a three-run homer, but Steele Welch came through with a single that started it all.

Welch came in with the bases loaded and no outs against Simpson, who had just entered the game following Brewer’s exit. Welch singled to left to score Austin Webber, and the ball got past the outfielder to score Gunnells to give the Gators a 2-1 lead.

More importantly, it gave them all the momentum in the world.

&uot;A new pitcher is just a new guy to swing at,&uot; said Welch, who homered over the blue wall in center in the third. &uot;I just wanted to get a rally going. We’re a big-inning team. We’re a young team with one senior and four juniors. We’re getting more confident and starting to hit the ball better.&uot;

Cleanup hitter Stephen Langlois then drove a hard liner to third that bounced off Chris Ensminger’s arm and went into the bullpen area for a double that scored Kyle Trabona. After Simpson got two outs and walked two to load the bases, Webber singled in Welch and Langlois for a 7-1 lead.

&uot;We jumped on them,&uot; Donald said. &uot;Every game we’ve played this year has been up and down and inconsistent. We’ve got a young team, but when we show up, we can play. Steele got the ground ball that got it started. That’s how we’ve done it all year.

&uot;That’s exactly what we wanted to do &045; come up here and show these guys how we play ball. That says something for Johnny because he taught me so much.&uot;

Gunnells then followed with the home run to left that put the lead at 9-1, and Hoffpauir brought in David Watts to get the final out of the inning. Watts yielded the solo shot to Welch in the fourth inning before getting two outs on strikeouts to end the inning.

&uot;Jordan was just struggling,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;He had 58 pitches in two innings. Reid grooved one of his fastballs in there (to Gunnells). But (FRA) did well, and Glen does a good job over there, it looks like. I knew (FRA) was coming down here to play hard, and they did.&uot;

The Vikings struggled at the plate against Welch as they had just four hits and had seven of their 12 outs on strikeouts. They got a run in the second when Lance Moore doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error.

In the fourth Tyler Bruce was hit by a pitch to lead off, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Cameron Ainsworth single.

&uot;He threw strikes and got ahead in the count,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;You’ve got to earn what you get against him. That (K’s) have been us all year. We went into this game hitting .256, and we’re going to be hitting lower than that now. Half of our outs this year have been by strikeouts. That’s hard to overcome.&uot;