Godbold calls one-hit shutout miracle as Vikings top C-F

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 31, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; In this weekend tournament game on a cold and windy night in mid-March, Tony Godbold considered it a miracle.

And if you were in attendance that Friday night in October when he broke his fibula and tibula in four places while playing football for Vidalia, you&8217;d call his outing Friday night something along those lines.

In his first start in a baseball season that wasn&8217;t supposed to happen, Godbold tossed a one-hit shutout as the Vikings put up a 6-0 win over Camden-Fairview in the second night of the Vidalia Invitational.

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&8220;I was scared I wasn&8217;t going to play any more sports my senior year,&8221; the left-hander said. &8220;I have a steel rod going from right above my knee to my ankle. Coach told me he didn&8217;t expect me to go this long. At first they told me I wasn&8217;t going to be able to play this year. I guess it was a miracle.&8221;What made the night even more impressive was he wasn&8217;t the original starter. Vidalia head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said he penciled in Trey Keith to get the start but had a change of heart when he thought of what could happen if the offspeed-throwing Keith toed the mound with the winds blowing as hard as they were by game time.

The hunch, turned out, was right. Godbold started out blowing away Camden-Fairview hitters by striking out six of the first eight batters he faced and not throwing a ball out of the strike zone in the first inning.

&8220;He had real good command of his pitches,&8221; Hoffpauir said. &8220;That was his best outing in a long time. There&8217;s not a kid who has any more guts than &8220;He had real good command of his pitches,&8221; Hoffpauir said. &8220;That was his best outing in a long time. There&8217;s not a kid who has any more guts than Tony. He&8217;s not 100 percent by any means, and he&8217;s still feeling effects from that broken leg. A lot of kids wouldn&8217;t have attempted what he&8217;s done. No one would have expected him to play this year. He&8217;s just a gutter.&8221;

Godbold came with the fastball and got his curveball over to keep the Cardinals from mounting a rally. He walked one, struck out six and had only five balls leave the infield while facing only two batters over the minimum.

After the Cardinals got their lone hit in the fourth, Godbold retired the side in order in the next two innings to close the door.

&8220;I think it&8217;s the best outing since I broke my leg,&8221; Godbold said. &8220;This was the most he let me go because of my injury. My leg feels good, and my arm got sore on the last batter, but I wasn&8217;t going to let coach pull me.&8221;

The lone hit from the Cardinals nearly jump-started their lineup as the team made better connection on Godbold pitches later in the game. Matt Young doubled to right with two outs in the fourth with David Nix on first base, and Nix tried to score on the play.

But Shayne Knapp hit Will Thomas on the cutoff, and Thomas threw from the outfield grass to Cameron Ainsworth at home to tag out Nix by at least a step to end the inning.

&8220;I tried to jumpstart us and ran us out of the inning,&8221; C-F head coach Greg Harris said. &8220;Just two good relay throws. It was a poor decision on my part. I told them that, and we didn&8217;t do anything up until that point.

&8220;(Thomas) threw a strike to the plate. I knew that was the kid that pitched last night. I took the chance, and they threw two strikes.&8221;

The play helped Godbold on the mound, as did the Vikings&8217; efforts at the plate. They tacked on a run in the first, third and fourth innings against C-F left-hander Nix, who kept hitters off balance with a good curveball he threw for strikes.

The big play, however, came in the third when the Vikings loaded the bases with one out, had a strikeout and called a straight out steal of home. Keith sprinted home on an off-speed pitch from Nix, and the pitch got away from the catcher when he slid safely into home plate for a 2-0 lead.

&8220;That was a genuine steal,&8221; Hoffpauir said. &8220;We&8217;re not producing in the bottom of the order, and we&8217;re having to do something to score runs. I told the batter to put the bat on your shoulder and get ready because we&8217;re coming. Their pitcher wasn&8217;t checking us. You&8217;ve got to have the right people at the right time at the right places to do that.&8221;

The Vikings added three more in the fifth.