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Vidalia ready to take on New Mexico

VIDALIA — The Vidalia softball 16-and-under All-Stars are eager to play a real game again.

And tonight, they will get the chance to do just that, as they travel to Pineville, La., to take on the New Mexico 16-and-under All-Stars at 8.

After a month of playing practice games against their 18-and-under counterparts, Vidalia head coach Rut Horne said he thinks his team is well prepared for what lies ahead.

“We’ve played four games a week, except for rainouts, so it’s not like we haven’t done anything,” Horne said.

“Now, there were times when we didn’t have all of our ball players there, and that did hurt us. These practice games are not as good as regulation games, but they’re probably better than just practicing (by yourself).”

This marks the first summer Horne’s coached a Little League team after being involved with Dixie Girls for many years. Horne traveled to Pineville Wednesday to attend the Little League credentials meeting, and he said there were some major differences between it and Dixie Youth.

“We don’t have the ability to warm up our pitchers. You have to have three people to warm up pitchers: the pitcher, the catcher and spotter, and the spotter has to be a player. They won’t allow a coach to be out there,” Horne said.

“We’ll have to warm them up before the game, or we might do it when we’re batting, so we’ll have more people in the dugout. If the pitcher is in the batting order that time around, though, that won’t get it done either.

“We’ll adjust. We’ll figure out a way to get it done.”

Figuring out what to expect from his opponent is probably the biggest challenge Horne faces.

“We don’t know anything about anyone. If we win (tonight), we’ll play Texas West. The further up you go, the tougher it’s going to get. Someone will come out of the woodwork with a pitcher that will shut you down.”

Meanwhile, the Vidalia 18-and-under team fell to Louisiana District 5 Thursday, losing 14-0. Vidalia managed just one hit by Beth Fortenbery.

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