Vidalia moves on with win

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, May 1, 2007

With more than just the game on the line, Vidalia’s Colt Slover made a great game-ending grab of a line drive with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning.

That catch preserved the Vikings 9-7 win over the Episcopal Knights from Baton Rouge Monday night in the regional round of the LHSAA Class 2A Playoffs.

With the win, Vidalia (22-10) will host St. Charles Friday at 5 p.m. in a battle of district champions to determine which team will play in the Class 2A State Tournament a week from today in Monroe, La.

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“It was a fan-friendly game. It was a nerve-wracking game for the coaches,” Vidalia head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpaiur said. “Both teams played hard. It came down to the very end.”

Vidalia had to rally three times during the game. The third time was in the bottom of the fifth inning when the Vikings scored three runs to take a 9-7 lead. Two of those runs were courtesy of a key error by the Knights.

Episcopal (21-12) took a 1-0 lead right off the bat before Vidalia responded with two runs in the bottom of the first, which started with a leadoff home run by Jordan Brewer.

The Knights took a 3-2 lead in the top of the third inning, but once again the Vikings answered, this time with three run in the bottom of the third for a 5-3 lead. After the Vikings increased their lead to 6-3, the Knights rallied with four runs of their own in the top of the fifth inning.

But one critical mistake by Episcopal allowed Vidalia to take the lead for good, even thought the Knights had one last chance in the top of the seventh.

“It was a well-played, very entertaining game,” Hoffpauir said. “It was the best team effort we’ve put out all season. We had key hits. We had a couple of two-out hits.”

Vidalia out-hit Episcopal 11 to nine in the game. Nick Coley and Shayne Knapp each went 2-for-4 and winning pitcher Will Thomas had a double for Vidalia. Losing pitcher Robert Shriley hit a home run while Matthew Guerry went 3-for-3 and Jeremy Marrier was 2-for-3 for Episcopal.

As for Vidalia’s next opponent, St. Charles, Hoffpaiur said, “St. Charles is from probably the strongest district in the state. We’ll have our hands full. But at this point, anything can happen.”