Vidalia downs Natchez

Published 11:23 am Friday, February 23, 2007

Vidalia High School picked up its second win of the season in the Cathedral High School baseball tournament at Chester Willis Field Thursday night as they defeated Natchez High School 10-5.

Sloppy defense led to errors by both sides, and the game eventually came down to which team could capitalize the most off the other team’s errors.

The Bulldogs drew first blood in the top of the first inning when Desmond Smoot scored off a one-out Johnny Williams single.

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The Vikings bounced right back in the bottom of the inning when lead-off hitter Jordan Brewer singled. Brewer then stole second base, and an errant throw resulted in him tying the game. The Vikings then took the lead four batters later when Trey Brashier scored Beau Doughty, who had previously drawn a walk, on a base hit.

“I was disappointed with our defense. Defense is supposed to be our strong suite, and we just lost our focus,” Natchez head coach Charlie Williams said.

Vidalia added three more runs in the first inning after Cameron Ainsworth loaded the bases with a single, and Colt Slover doubled to clear the bases with two outs. Mason Ozburn flew out to end the inning and Vidalia led 5-1 after one inning.

Kendall Logan led off the second inning with a triple, and he would later score after Marcus Hargrave picked up a base hit off an error. The Bulldogs cut the lead to two, two batters later, when Chad Smoot scored.

The score remained 5-3 heading into the third, but it would not stay that way for long.

After the Bulldogs went three-up, three down the Vikings went back to work at the plate. Nick Coley and Ainsworth both drew walks, while Trey Barnes singled to score Coley with one out. Brewer, the next batter, followed suite by singling to score Slover and gave Vidalia a 7-3 lead.

The Bulldogs failed to step up and generate any runs in the top of the fourth, but the Vikings did not back down.

“The fourth inning killed us with the bases loaded,” Williams said.

After the Vikings loaded the bases, Brashier added another run off a Slover base hit. Two batters later, Slover would score off a wild throw from Cameron Logan, who replaced Edward Johnson on the mound. Brewer who was at bat at the time of the wild pitch hit a sacrifice fly to score Ainsworth and give the Vikings a 10-3 lead heading into the fifth.

In the top of the fifth, Mason Ozburn replaced Viking starting pitcher Shayne Knapp after Knapp walked Johnson to start the inning. Ozburn struck out Williams, the next batter, but did not fair so well against Cameron Logan, who took the ball for a ride over the fence to give the Bulldogs two runs.

But the 10-5 score was as close as the Bulldogs would come. Following the Natchez at-bat, the game was called on account of the one hour and forty-five minute time limit imposed for tournament play.

Vidalia head coach Johnny Hoffpauir said he was glad his team got the win, but added the Vikings must work on their baseball instincts.

He told his players after the game that they must not be afraid to fail and to just play ball. Hoffpauir said his team’s reaction to plays is much slower when they play up tight, and said they must learn to relax when they are playing in the field.

“We’ll take the win, but we have got to get better on the mental end,” he said.

Williams said while he was disappointed with his team’s defense, he said he was pleased with the Bulldogs’ pitching and hitting.

“For us to win games, we must come together in all three areas,” he said.

With the win the Vikings improved to a perfect 2-0, while the Bulldogs fell to 2-2 on the season.