Youthful Vidalia edges rebuilding Block, 3-2

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 2, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; The game lasted only an hour, but it didn&8217;t take that long to realize how humbling the game of softball can be for Vidalia and Block.

The Butts sisters are gone at Block, as are Christy Corley, Miranda Doughty and Lauren Clayton at Vidalia. What has been a showdown each time these two teams have met in softball in recent years hasn&8217;t been that way this season with both in the midst of a rebuilding season.

Yet the final score &8212; a 3-2 win for Vidalia in four innings at VHS tournament Friday night &8212; was closer than the previous two meetings. Vidalia won the first two meetings 5-2 and 11-3.

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The two teams have a combined three seniors.

&8220;We&8217;re both going through the same things, just from talking to him,&8221; Block head coach Kerry Kirby said. &8220;Our team will come out and play one good game and one bad game. It&8217;s been (a rivalry) for several years, and we enjoy playing them. Yeah, we&8217;re pretty young.&8221;

The Lady Bears (4-12) may have gone through bigger struggles than Vidalia, but both showed Friday night defense has been the main culprit when things have gone bad this season. The Lady Vikings (11-11) have had their share of breakdowns in the field this season, but in this game they recovered from breakdowns to get out of a couple of jams.

The Lady Vikings threw out two baserunners between second and third.

&8220;We&8217;ve been doing that all year (making mistakes), but we did do a good job of regrouping and recovering on our mistakes,&8221; Vidalia head coach Gary Paul Parnham said. &8220;We&8217;re fortunate Block made some mistakes that allowed us to score some runs. We&8217;ll take the win any way we can get it.

&8220;He&8217;s young, and we&8217;re young. We&8217;re both going through a lot of the same things with growing pains and mental mistakes. We&8217;ve been playing better here lately. Hopefully we can keep it up.&8221;

The game was called in the bottom of the fourth on a time limit, and it came after Block scored two runs in the top half but had a runner thrown out heading to third to end the inning. The Lady Bears had the bases loaded when Jamie Ross lined a single just up the middle to score Mika Bennett and Misty Davis, but the Lady Vikings caught Megan McMillin in a rundown between second and third.

That came after Hannah Coldiron reached second on an error in the outfield but was thrown out trying to get to third on the play.

&8220;We made some baserunning errors that cost us another run, and I made a bad call,&8221; Kirby said. &8220;We had (Coldiron) on the double, and I tried to stretch it into a triple.&8221;

Those two plays &8212; along with Jamiee Jordan throwing out leadoff hitter Shateca Collins on a steal attempt at second &8212; gave the Lady Vikings the confidence it needed on defense.

Both errors came in the first two innings before Coldiron was thrown out at third. After that, Vidalia pitcher Brittany Whittington was able to work without an error behind her.

&8220;Jamiee has got a big-time arm,&8221; Parnham said. &8220;It&8217;s nice to have that behind the plate. It doesn&8217;t take but throwing one runner out for another team to shut it down. That was really big throwing that girl out at second base. (Collins) is just a freshman and a pretty good third baseman. Most of the time when she gets on base she&8217;s at third on two pitches.&8221;

The Lady Vikings capitalized on Block&8217;s errors in the second and third innings to take the lead. In the second, a fly ball fell in the outfield on a ball hit by Ashley Fuqua to score Whittington and Erica Brown.

In the third, another ball fell in the outfield to score Kelly O&8217;Gwin all the way from first.

&8220;We didn&8217;t hit the ball well tonight &8212; not as well as we&8217;ve been hitting it,&8221; Parnham said. &8220;They hit the ball. They hit a lot better than they did the last time. They came in well-prepared. I feel like they were coming in here to try to spoil our tournament for us. They did a good job.&8221;

Monterey 7, Caldwell 4

The Lady Wolves scored three runs in the top half of the fourth to break away from a 4-4 tie against the Class 3A Lady Spartans.