Vikings pick up 14-10 win over Block
VIDALIA — Vidalia coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir intended to use six pitchers Friday against Block.
In the end, though, Hoffpauir said he needed the win more than he needed the experimentation. Thus, the Vikings settled for four pitchers — and still yielded 10 runs. Fortunately for the Vikings, the bats stepped up to the challenge, giving Vidalia a 14-10 victory.
Despite the win, Hoffpauir said he was disappointed in his team’s showing, and said some of his players needed to do a better job with the mental part of the game.
“This is three games in a row we’ve played poorly,” Hoffpauir said. “I’m really disappointed with how we’re hitting with runners in scoring position and less than two outs.
“It’s just frustrating. We have a couple of players carrying their (poor) at-bats over to defense, and that irritates the heck out of me. They can’t get their last at-bat out of their heads.
“We’re in the heart of our schedule, and we shouldn’t be making the mental mistakes in the field that we’re making. But, these are good kids, and I expect them to come around.”
Vidalia’s two big innings came in the bottom of the fifth and sixth. Trailing 8-7, Vidalia scored five runs in the fifth and two in the sixth, giving it a 14-8 lead. On defense, Vikings reliever Jamall Davis held Block scoreless both innings, which earned him Hoffpauir’s praise.
“Jamall showed well tonight,” Hoffpauir said. “He has as good of stuff as anyone on the team, with a live fastball and sharp curveball. His problem has been consistency in the strike zone. He’s just a sophomore, and if he figures it out, he can be a good high school pitcher.”
Vidalia starter B.J. Neely was touched for three runs in the first inning, but settled down in the second inning after Vidalia backed him up with four runs in the bottom of the first.
In the bottom of the second, the Vikings’ Seth Barlow advanced to third on a wild pitch, then scored on an errant throw by Block catcher Dylon Mago. Later in the inning, John Brixey tripled in Seth Thompson, giving Vidalia a 6-3 lead.
Block came storming back to tie the game in the third, however, when Vidalia reliever Tucker Bruce allowed three runs to score. The Bears added two more runs in the top of the fourth, when Tevin Ostosow singled in Ladarius Collins and Colter White singled in Ostosow.
Meanwhile, the Vikings were stymied for two innings by lefty reliever Will Hawthorn, who pitched the third and fourth innings for Block, allowing just one run in the fourth.
“If they had kept (Hawthorn) in, we could have gone on all night, and we never would have scored,” Hoffpauir said.
Block coach Stevie McCarthy said he limited his pitchers’ innings in order to preserve them for district play next week.
“(Hawthorn) did a good job,” McCarthy said. “He’s got a lot of movement on his fastball, and his curveball is pretty good. We just didn’t want to burn him too much tonight, because we have three district games next week. We didn’t pitch any of my pitchers too much because of that.”
Vidalia’s Trey Lillie closed things out for the Vikings in the seventh, but not before giving up two runs. Vidalia allowed two passed balls and one stolen base in the seventh, which put both runners in scoring position and caused Hoffpauir to march out to the mound and tell his fielders to get their heads in the game.
“I felt like we lost concentration that inning, and let runners advance when they shouldn’t have advanced,” he said.
Block fell to 6-6 on the season, 1-1 in district play.
Vidalia (7-5, 1-0) will host Avoyelles today at 3 p.m.