Thomas, Vikings stay hot in win over struggling Cathedral

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 30, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; To carry that tag of No. 1 starter, the veteran head coach says, you&8217;ve got to be consistent.

Will Thomas&8217; last three starts have been just that.

So he&8217;s got it, the responsibility of being the guy the Vidalia Vikings give the ball to when the big games come up. He got the ball Friday against Cathedral and found his spots with the curveball, stayed ahead in the count and tossed a three-hitter as the Vikings rolled past Cathedral, 11-1, in six innings.

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All that is what No. 1 guys are supposed to do. And with big games slated in the coming weeks, Thomas will likely get the call again.

&8220;He earned that spot coming into the season, and we knew he had a shot at being No. 1,&8221; VHS head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said. &8220;With (Tony) Godbold&8217;s injury, he&8217;s really stepped it up. This is his third good outing in a row. The only thing we were worried about was consistency, but with three good outings in a row &8212; he&8217;s proven he can do it.&8221;

It&8217;s can be a tough role to fill, but Friday&8217;s outing proved he&8217;s plenty capable. He walked only three batters, struck out seven and came up with a key strikeout each time the Green Wave put runners on base.

The curveball was working well enough late in the game to really give Cathedral batters fits, and Thomas struck out the last three batters he faced in the sixth after Patrick McDonough singled to lead off the inning and Zack Calhoun walked.

&8220;I was off at the beginning of the game, but I found it,&8221; Thomas said of the curveball. &8220;Toward the end of the game, that&8217;s when it was really working. And my defense backs me up. Right now things are (going well). We started off the first of the season pretty slow, but we&8217;re getting it together right now.&8221;

And he extended a period of frustration for a Cathedral team that&8217;s still reeling at the plate. Credit Thomas for getting out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the fourth with only one run on a sacrifice fly when Charlie Lane hopped over Vidalia catcher Cameron Ainsworth and the plate itself before coming back and touching it.

The Vikings (12-3) then put up four runs in the bottom half to end the game an inning early.

&8220;We don&8217;t have that killer instinct now,&8221; CHS head coach Craig Beesley said. &8220;When we have runners in scoring position, we&8217;ve got to get them in some way. We&8217;re still struggling with the bats, especially when we have runners in scoring position with less than two outs. They had that big fourth inning that put us in a hole, and I knew it would e hard to come back.&8221;

Thomas got a big boost from the bats in that fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie, and he helped himself a bit later as the Vikings sent 10 men to the plate off Cathedral relievers Zack Calhoun and Alex Middleton.

The Vikings got only two hits off McDonough in the first three innings but jumped on Calhoun with three straight singles to load the bases. Calhoun then walked Shayne Knapp to break the tie and score Tyler Bruce, and nine-hole hitter Beau Doughty walked with two outs to score Trey Keith.

An error in the infield scored Josh Bennett and kept them loaded, and Thomas doubled to left to score Knapp and Doughty for a 6-1 lead.

&8220;He was a better guy to see coming out of his hand,&8221; Thomas said of Calhoun. &8220;We hit him better. (McDonough) has always kind of gave us problems. We&8217;ve always had trouble hitting him through the years. He&8217;s just tough to get a hold to.&8221;