Jamal Davis’ single caps off another walk-off win for Vidalia
VIDALIA — It’s not a surprise anymore that the Vidalia baseball team will win on a walk-off hit in the bottom of the final inning.
And despite doing that again Monday against Bolton, head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir hasn’t gotten sick of it.
“It doesn’t get old, as long as we’re the ones that come out on top,” Hoffpauir said.
Vidalia’s Jamal Davis broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the eighth when he singled in winning pitcher Seth Thompson from third base, giving the Vikings a 2-1 win.
“Jamal had struggled a couple of times early in the game, but I walked up to him before his at-bat, and asked him, ‘Are you going to hit this guy?’” Hoffpauir said.
“Without hesitation, he said yes. That’s what I was looking for, confidence.”
Before Davis’ at-bat, Thompson worked a one-out walk, and John Brixey got hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second. B.J. Neely followed up with a groundout that moved the runners to second and third, giving Davis the chance he needed.
“I didn’t get a hit the whole game, and I just had it in my head that I had to put the ball in play,” Davis said. “It felt good to get on base and (drove in) the winning run.”
And even though he was hitless up to that point, Davis said feeding off the energy of his teammates is what enabled him to come through in such a crucial situation.
“The intensity of everyone chanting everything and the whole team depending on you really lifts you up,” Davis said. “With me having the whole team on my back, I knew I had to come through.”
The victory marks Vidalia’s fifth walk-off win of the season, and improves the Vikings to 16-7 on the season, 9-1 in district play.
“Tonight was the best game we’ve played all season, defensively,” Hoffpauir said. “Our outfield has been solid all year, but our infield has been a question mark for us. Tonight, (Trey) Lillie played a good game for us at shortstop, Brixey did well at first and Heath White was solid at second. We just did the little routine plays well tonight, and that’s all we can ask of them.”
Starter Seth Thompson pitched all eight innings, surrendering just one run in the third inning, when Bolton starter Christian Extine doubled in Connor Debevec.
“Thompson pitched his game of the year,” Hoffpauir said. “He had a little pop on his fastball, and it got even stronger in the later innings. He had control of everything, threw his curveball for strikes and kept the hitters off balance. And, of course, we played good defense behind him.”
Vidalia scored its first run in the bottom of the fourth inning, when an errant throw by Extine went past second base into the outfield, allowing Seth Barlow to score from third.
If there were anything Hoffpauir wishes his team did better, it was being able to lay down a bunt.
“I was a little disappointed we didn’t execute the bunt in the fifth and seventh,” Hoffpauir said. “I we do, we probably win the game early. When the playoffs start, we have to be able to bunt if we’re going to win ball games.”