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Vidalia softball All-Stars make state

MARKSVILLE La. — Facing an early four-run deficit in the Little League fast-pitch softball district tournament championship game, The Vidalia 11-12-year-old All-Star team listened to their coach and used his advice to fight back.

Vidalia overcame a 4-0 deficit to rally and defeat Avoyelles Extreme 9-7 to advance to the state tournament, which begins July 16 in Lake Charles, La.

“I told them to be patient, we have some very good hitters on the team and had five more innings to go,” Vidalia coach Brent Smith said. “I said if we stay patient, we’ll be fine.”

And Vidalia did that. They scored one run in the bottom of the first and then took the lead with four runs in the bottom of the second inning.

“We kept chipping away and got that big inning we needed,” Smith said.

Avoyelles cut the lead to 6-5 with a run in the top of the fourth, but Vidalia scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take its biggest lead of the game at 9-5.

Avoyelles scratched out a run in the top of the fifth and put a big scare into Vidalia in the top of the sixth.

Avoyelles put one run across in the inning and had runners on second and third, but pitcher Bailey Book retired the final batter to close out the victory and send Vidalia to the state tournament.

“Bailey Book really bowed up tonight,” Smith said. “It looked like (Avoyelles) was about to come from behind but she bowed up and got the last out. Sydney Woodruff made a great running catch in the last inning to help preserve the win as well.”

Smith said his players are looking forward to the trip to the state tournament, and the team will set up a booth at the Vidalia riverfront from 6-10 p.m. Sunday to raise funds for the trip.

“Everybody is looking real forward to going to Lake Charles for the state tournament,” Smith said. “I’m just real proud of all of them.”

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