Vidalia, Monterey, Block start postseason

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

VIDALIA, La. &045; To say the road back for Brett Hinson has been long wouldn’t be accurate.

It’s been filled with short steps, small amounts of progress with heavy monitoring just to make sure everything is going right in that right arm and the senior is in his best shape possible to help the Vidalia Vikings now that the playoffs have begun.

The postseason begins today, and Hinson may likely get the call. The Vikings will host St. Frederick at 6 p.m. today in a Class 2A first-round matchup.

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&uot;He’ll probably get the start, but we haven’t made that decision 100 percent,&uot; Vidalia head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said. &uot;We’ve worked Brett back the last three weeks kind of aiming at this. We think Brett can do it. We started him out about three weeks ago in bull pen, and then we pitched him against Delhi and limited his pitches to about 50.

&uot;Then we brought him against Oak Grove, but we kept his pitch count to 60. Then we had Lake Providence, and he threw 60 pitches. We’ve been bringing him along slow, and hopefully he’ll be ready.&uot;

The decision may not be made until today or this afternoon on whether or not he’ll get the start. The Vikings can still turn to Tony Godbold, Will Thomas or Lance Moore in this first-round contest.

But if Hinson can go and get that first quality start in since having arm problems earlier this spring, it would be the best time to do so.

&uot;We’ll up his pitch count, but we probably won’t go over 80 or 90,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;We’ll keep a close eye on him.&uot;

A start would also be nice against St. Frederick, a team that’s become as regular as the Vikings in the playoffs in recent seasons and lost in the championship to Franklin Parish in the VHS tournament earlier this season.

The Warriors finished third in that Monroe-based District 3 behind Sterlington and champion Ouachita Christian after bottoming out in the latter part of the regular season.

&uot;They led that district all year long and had a bad week in the last week of the season,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;We’re probably playing the best team in that district. It’s a very tough district up there. But that’s the draw we’ve got, and we’ll have to live with it. If we can win that, we’ll play Christian Life. You’ve got to go play.&uot;

At least for the Vikings, the bats are still punishing people heading into the postseason. That was the case in that win over Cathedral, and the Vikings put up 36 runs in six innings on Lake Providence and ended the regular season with an 11-5 win over Mangham Friday.

The Vikings pounded out 13 hits against the Dragons to finish the season hot at the plate.

&uot;The kids are starting to come around with the bats,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;It seems like we’ve faced everyone’s No. 1 this year. Overall we’ve seen better pitching than we have in a long time. It’s going to help us.&uot;

Downsville at Monterey

MONTEREY, La. &045; As well as the Wolves hit in Monday’s win over Harrisonburg and as well-received the outcome was, head coach Hank Zizzi took it easy on his club Tuesday.

Then Wednesday they went back to work.

The task at hand is a home playoff game against wild card Downsville at 4 p.m. today to open the playoffs after they claimed the top spot out of the district with the win. It’s just a matter of keeping things going.

&uot;I let them savor the moment, so to speak,&uot; Zizzi said. &uot;I let them go home and enjoy the moment. I’ve always said I’m proud of them, but it’s like I told them &045; you got out there and played like you’re supposed to play and the way you’re capable of playing. We need a few more games like that.&uot;

The Wolves will go against a Downsville team that comes out of that Ruston-area-based District 2 with Choudrant and Simsboro. Now the Wolves will need to get that pitching again today with Gary Evans likely to get the call on the mound.

There’s still Layton Strebeck, Max Green and Billy Metcalf available after Matt Shively pitched Monday.

&uot;Layton has come on and pitched well for us, as has Billy when we’ve had to use him,&uot; Zizzi said. &uot;All year long Gary and Matt have both been throwing good enough to win. If they keep the walks down, we’ll come out pretty good. It seems like every time we walk somebody that booger scores.

&uot;If we play the way we played the other day, we should win. If we play the way we played in the past, we could get knocked out of this thing in a hurry. And I’m not ready to hear the fat lady sing yet.&uot;

Logansport at Block

JONESVILLE, La. &045; The Bears drew the wild card out of district three to start the playoffs, and they’ll go with what got them there &045; the left arm of senior Cody Johnson.

Johnson has 140 strikeouts in 84 innings so far this season. He fanned nine the first game and reached double-digits each outing ever since, including a high of 17 strikeouts in one game.

Game time is 5:30 p.m. today in Jonesville.

&uot;We’re feeling pretty good,&uot; Block head coach Jeremy Farrington said. &uot;He’s throwing around 81 or 82 (mph). When you get a pitcher like that on the mound, you feel kind of confident.

&uot;We’re starting to hit better. We’re a young team with a lot of first-year players, and they’re understanding situational hitting and moving the runners over. We’ve had to learn how to play small ball this year.&uot;