Vikings bring back old memories with 13-1 win

Published 12:06 am Thursday, March 11, 2010

VIDALIA — After the Vidalia baseball team made quick work of Monterey Wednesday, Vikings coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said he felt reminiscent.

The Vikings forced the game to be called after the top of the fifth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule, as Vidalia won 13-1 and triggered its head coach’s memories of days gone by.

“It gave me goose bumps, because it reminded me of the old Vidalia teams,” Hoffpauir said.

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“I thought we played a complete game. At the plate, we showed great discipline, and I don’t think we had a bad at-bat. We were also aggressive on the basepaths.”

Pitchers Heath White and Seth Barlow were a breath of fresh air for a team whose rotation has been decimated by injuries. White started the game for the Vikings and went three innings, giving up just one run. Barlow stepped onto the mound in the fourth and held Monterey to no runs in the final two innings.

“We’re in a pitching dilemma with our No. 1 starter (Mason) Ozburn out with an ankle injury and our No. 3 starter B.J. Neely out with a strained back,” Hoffpauir said.

“Heath got out there and threw strikes. He doesn’t throw very hard, but we’re looking for strikes. I don’t like getting beat by walking batters.

“Barlow’s got a live arm, and he could be a difference-maker for us. It was the first time on the mound for both of them, and they stepped up to the challenge.”

Vidalia opened up with five runs in the bottom of the first inning. Barlow hit a single that drove in Caleb Vines, and Nate Bozeman belted a triple that brought in Seth Thompson and John Brixey. Two more runs scored on an error by Monterey shortstop Dillon Smith.

The Vikings added six more runs in the bottom of the third inning. Jamall Davis’ RBI triple scored three runs. Seth Thompson’s single brought Davis home, and Brixey followed it up with a two-run home run.

Vidalia added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Monterey’s only run came in the top of the third inning on an RBI single by Ross Lipsey that scored Smith.

“We showed extreme patience at the plate, I thought,” Hoffpauir said. “Their pitcher was struggling, and we swung at good pitches. A lot of times in that situation, hitters start getting impatient and start swinging at bad pitches.”

Vidalia (2-2) will play in two games Saturday in the Vidalia tournament. Hoffpauir said the schedule for the tournament has been re-worked to allow fans to travel with the Vidalia basketball team Friday for the Class 3A state championship.

“There will be no games Thursday, and two games Friday: Monterey vs. Jena and Cathedral vs. Oak Hill. On Saturday, there will be four games starting at 11 p.m., and we’ll play in the last two.”