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Vidalia falls to Bunkie

Vidalia High School’s Caleb Vines makes it safe to third base, while Buckeye’s Trace Carter attempts to stop the play during their Thursday night game at the Vidalia baseball field. (Eric Shelton / The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — It wasn’t a win, but Vidalia High School baseball coach Tim Herndon liked what he saw.

Down 6-2 after four innings, the Vikings were able to come back and send the game into extra innings before falling to Bunkie High School 8-7 Thursday night.

In a week that Vidalia (2-11, 0-2) was plagued by poor defense, Herndon said the way his team battled back was a breath of fresh air.

“I was proud of my guys,” he said. “They fought hard, played hard, played well and pitched well. We made a couple of mistakes, but it’s high school baseball, so you’re going to make mistakes.”

Trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth, the Vikings plated two runs to take a 7-6 lead going into the seventh. Nathan Bozeman came home on a fielder’s choice, and Caleb Vines scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball.

Vidalia was unable to close the game out, however, as the Panthers’ Colt Hanchey scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Panthers kept Vidalia scoreless in the bottom of the seventh, and added a run in the top of the eighth to take an 8-7 lead when Jacob Ryder scored from second on a double by Trace Carter.

Vidalia started the game in a 5-0 hole that Bunkie dug for them in the first three innings. Vikings starter Corey Williams struggled for the first three innings before Vidalia finally scored some runs in the bottom of the third.

Bozeman scored first for the Vikings on a sacrifice fly by Devin Barnes. Later in the inning, Vines attempted to steal third, and came home when Bunkie catcher Blake Buller threw the ball past Carter at third base.

Bunkie got the two runs back in the top of the fourth when Dennis Clay scored on a throwing error by third baseman Jamal Davis. Brett Duplissey also scored on a sacrifice fly.

But Vidalia got the game within one run in the bottom of the fourth. Seth Hughes came home on a double by Bozeman, and Bozeman and Davis scored on a fielding error by Bunkie second baseman Chase Mabou.

Williams lasted just four innings before handing the ball to Bozeman in the top of the fourth. Bozeman pitched the remaining innings, yielding just two runs.

“He’s gotten stronger and stronger over the last several games,” Herndon said. “I decided that he would be one of my four district pitchers, and he threw strikes and got ahead of hitters.

“He’s very competitive, and he wants to win, and he’ll compete for you until the end.”

Vidalia will play at Avoyelles at 3 p.m. Saturday.