Vidalia’s Catfish Classic once again faces inclement weather

Published 12:52 am Friday, March 13, 2009

VIDALIA — True to the tournament’s form, the Vidalia Catfish Classic brought in inclement weather Thursday for the first game against the Vikings and Jena.

The teams made it three and a half innings before the game was called for a 6-5 Vidalia win.

The Giants scored in the first inning on a pass ball, and Vidalia did the same in the second, an early sign that the weather would cause defensive errors for both teams.

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But Vidalia’s bats seemed unhindered by the weather, as the Vikings put up two more runs in the second inning and another three in the third.

“We did some little things that we hadn’t been doing all season,” Vidalia coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said. “We got the ball down, we bunted, we moved some runners over and we got some key hits. That’s stuff we hadn’t been doing all season.”

Seth Thompson hit an RBI single to left field, and Jake DeWeese hit a sacrifice fly to left to score the third run of the game in the second inning.

In the third, B.J. Neely walked and reached second on a sacrifice bunt by Seth Barlow. Vines hit a single to right field, and Mason Ozburn got hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Seth Thompson then hit what should have been an RBI sacrifice fly to centerfield, but Jena’s D’Andre Wallace dropped the ball, clearing the bases and putting Thompson on second.

But the Giants wouldn’t go down quietly, scoring four runs in the fourth inning before the game was called.

Wallace walked and stole second, Brett Jones walked, and Newt Ashley hit an RBI double to right field to score Wallace. Will Alexander followed up with an RBI single to left, and Matt Souderes dropped a fly ball in left field by Jerrod Moss to give up the final two runs of the game.

“We did a good job defensively most of the game,” Hoffpauir said. “We just had a little mistake that let them get back in it at the end.”

Hoffpauir said part of the problem was the weather — the wet ball was hard to control, causing Ozburn, the pitcher to work harder.

Hoffpauir removed him in the fourth inning.

“I didn’t realize his pitch count was so high,” the coach said. “He was at 90 (pitches). In four innings you don’t expect your pitcher to have thrown 90 pitches, but he got to it before we realized it.”

Most of the hour and fifty minutes designated for each game of the tournament was spent raking the pitcher’s mound and putting down more dirt.

Hoffpauir said even though time was up when the game was called, they would have stopped playing anyway because it was simply too dangerous to continue.

Cathedral (10-0) was slated to play Jena following Vidalia’s game, but that game was canceled as well.

“We got in all we could,” he said. “That was all we could do right there. We had a hard time keeping the mound playable and a hard time keeping home plate safe.”

Vidalia’s game against Cathedral, scheduled for Saturday evening, was canceled so members of the Vikings baseball team could travel to watch the Vidalia boys’ basketball team play in the state championship game in Lafayette, La.

Cathedral is scheduled to play Oak Hill at 4:30 p.m. today and is slated to meet Trinity Episcopal at 6:30 p.m.

“We’ll try to get in what we can,” Hoffpauir said. “We usually make $3,000 to $5,000 at this tournament. This year we’ll probably make $3 to $5.”