Vikings upset Iowa in playoff action

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 1, 2009

IOWA, La. — If last season’s first round loss to Iowa High left a bad taste in the Vidalia Vikings’ mouths, Thursday’s win was sweet as candy.

The No. 24-seed Vidalia baseball team used a five-run sixth inning and a complete game by Mason Ozburn to defeat the No. 9-seed Yellow Jackets 8-7 in the bi-district round of the LHSAA Class 3A playoffs.

“That’s one of the biggest wins in Vidalia history, and we’ve had a bunch,” Vidalia coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said. “Nobody gave us a chance. After last year, we were kind of embarrassed by the way we played, but nobody was intimidated this time around.”

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The Vikings fell in the first round at Iowa last season, 17-7.

This year, Vidalia (14-10) took a one-run lead in the top of the first inning off an RBI double by John Brixey before Iowa (27-8) put up two in answer.

Both teams were scoreless in the second and added a run in the third — Vidalia’s off a solo home run by Brixey — but the Yellow Jackets scored three runs in the third inning.

“It was sort of a carbon copy of what happened last year, and they got a four-run lead on us,” Hoffpauir said. “We could have really lost it right there, but we just kept battling. That was big.”

The Vikings put up one run in the fourth inning before sending five runners home in the top of the sixth.

“We had the help of a couple walks, and there was an error that we were able to take advantage of,” Hoffpauir said. “We got a couple big hits — Jake Deweese had a big double — and we just kept pecking away.”

Pitcher Mason Ozburn threw a complete game with seven hits and eight strikeouts.

“Mason pitched a heck of a game,” his coach said. “That’s the Mason that we’ve had for the last three weeks. He really kept us in it and gave us a chance.”

Vidalia overcame a three-hour trip south and playing in front of a hostile crowd for the win. The team also overcame the doubts over the 31 other playoff teams’ coaches, who voted the Vikings so low in the seeding.

Vidalia now has a chance to host round two, which will most likely be played against E.D. White High School of Thibodaux, La.

“We played with a lot of confidence,” Hoffpauir said. “One constant we’ve had is these kids play hard. You do that, good things can happen.”