Vidalia boy has fun on the diamond

Published 12:25 am Monday, May 11, 2009

VIDALIA — When The Dart found seven-year-old Derek Vanier on Stuart Drive Friday, he had a mission — find his sports cleats.

Already dressed in white sports pants and a gold and purple Concordia Sentinel team jersey, Derek was ready to go to Ferriday to play except for that pesky detail about shoes.

This year is Derek’s second year to play ball. His first year, he played t-ball, and then took a year to play football before returning to his first love, except this time in the coach pitch division.

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“He decided football was too hard,” Derek’s mother Sandra Vanier said. “He’s a stocky little thing, and can’t run very fast, so we told him he would have to hit the ball hard.”

That’s a message Derek apparently took to heart, earning the best batting average on his team this year, Sandra Vanier said.

And it’s the reason he plays, Derek said.

“I like (baseball) because you get to hit the balls,” he said.

While he likes to hit the ball whatever way he can, Derek said he would prefer to be an all-out slugger.

“I want to hit a home-run,” he said.

The farthest Derek has gotten this year been to second base, and even thinking about it he couldn’t help grinning.

“I was thinking, ‘I hope I can make a home run, because I really want to,’” he said.

Though he enjoys baseball, Derek said he has changed his mind about football and wants to go back.

“With football, I like that you get to hit people, and I like to get knocked down,” Derek said.

If he can, the soon-to-be second grader said he would like to continue playing both sports, maybe all the way to college.

“I would play maybe at LSU,” Derek said. “Because I like purple and yellow, and I like tigers.”

He was eventually able to find his shoes and — with a little help from his mother — tie them.

And then it was time for him to go and try to hit a home run.