Gators gearing up

Published 12:01 am Friday, July 8, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Ginny Daggett is called safe at home plate after hitting a home run during her the Vidalia Gators’ softball game Thursday afternoon at the Vidalia baseball complex.

VIDALIA — With their first postseason game several weeks away, the Vidalia Gators ages 15 and 16 All-Stars are trying to stay in playing shape.

So for the past three weeks, the Gators have been traveling to and hosting exhibition games as they gear up for their July 29 matchup against Colorado in the Little League Southeastern Regionals.

Head coach Rut Horne said it’s important to do more than simply have practice several times a week.

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“We need to practice a lot, but even in practice we don’t get game situations such as rundowns,” Horne said. “Everything is full speed, but in practice, you can bunt all you want, and it still isn’t full speed.”

Vidalia hosted the Winsboro 18 and younger All-Stars, winning Game 1 6-5 and won Game 2 7-3.

In Game 1, the Gators yielded four runs in the top of the first inning, but answered with three runs of its own in the bottom half of the frame.

Bailey New plated the first Vidalia runner, driving in Ellen Bairnsfather on a single. New later scored on a wild pitch, and the Gators’ Mollie Devening drove in Jodie Duncan on a single.

Neither team scored again until the bottom of the third inning, when Vidalia first baseman Ginny Daggett belted a triple to right field. She would come home after a throwing error to third base, tying the game at 4-4.

“We see that pretty often (from Daggett),” Horne said. “It’s not unusual. She gets quite a few standup triples.”

Devening got her second RBI of the game in that same inning when she singled in Duncan again, making it 5-4 Vidalia.

But Winsboro wouldn’t go away quietly. Devening took over for starter Kayla Smith in the top of the fourth, but Winsboro scored a run with two outs to tie the game at 5-5.

The Gators scored the winning run in the bottom of the fourth when Kimble Devening scored Bairnsfather at third on an infield single.

Mollie Devening closed for Vidalia in the top of the fifth, and the game was called after 75 minutes.

With her leading the team in RBIs in Game 1 and pitching two strong innings, Horne said it’s tough to figure out whether Mollie belongs on the mound or in the lineup.

“She is, by definition, a pitcher, but I’ve really got a dilemma whether or not to take someone else’s place on defense, because her bat is that good,” Horne said.

Vidalia 7, Winsboro 3

Ginny Daggett got the win in Game 2, and Ellen Bairnsfather was credited with the save.

Bailey New went 2-for-3 with a double. Bairnsfather, Maura Cooper, Kimble Devening and Kayla Smith all went 1-for-1.