Vidalia shows maturation in win

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vidalia High School’s Avery Parker steals second base before Marksville High School’s Cody McNeal catches the ball Monday night during the Vikings’ 7-4 win over the Tigers. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — Vidalia High School baseball coach Tim Herndon is watching his team grow up right before his eyes.

After a rough start to the season, Herndon said the little things are finally beginning to click. And the team’s never-say-die attitude allowed the Vikings to storm back Monday night and take a 7-4 victory against Marksville, he said.

The Vikings trailed 3-1 going into the bottom of the sixth, but the bats came alive for Vidalia, scoring six runs to give relief pitcher Nathan Bozeman a 7-3 cushion going into the top of the seventh.

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Bozeman yielded one run off a double by the Tigers’ Brandon Speer, but it made little difference as Vidalia (4-10, 2-2) cruised to its second win in a row.

“This win was huge, especially following the (21-11 win against Avoyelles) Saturday,” Herndon said. “We got behind early, but just kept competing and coming at them. We made some good things happen.

“We had solid pitching and solid defense. We only had the one error (by Bozeman while he was in center field). We did all three parts of the game at a good level.”

Corey Williams got the start for Vidalia, going three innings and giving up just one earned run in the top of the first. The Tigers scored two more unearned runs off Williams in the top of the fourth when Bozeman misplayed a ball in center field, giving them a 3-1 lead.

Bozeman came in to relieve Williams in the top of fifth inning, giving up just one earned run in three innings pitched.

Vidalia tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second inning when Devin Barnes scored on a fielding error by Marksville shortstop Jake Dunbar.

In the sixth-inning rally for the Vikings, Heath White scored the first run off a bunt by Lane Strong. Levi Brown then hit a blooper to third base to score Nate Thomas and tie the game 3-3.

Vidalia finally took the lead when Bozeman drew a bases-loaded walk that scored Williams. Jamal Davis reached on a fielder’s choice when Marksville opted to get the runner out at home, but Caleb Vines followed up with a double that plated Brown and Bozeman.

Davis scored the final Vidalia run on a passed ball.

“I’m so proud to see all the little things we do finally working out,” Herndon said.

“We’re finally starting to show that we have a little experience. Our goal going into the season was to be competitive in district, and they have been. Our only two losses (in district) were by one run and two runs.”

Vidalia will host Bolton at 6 p.m. Thursday.