Vidalia eliminated from title contention

Published 12:01 am Thursday, August 9, 2012

SUXXEX COUNTY, Del. — The 15- and 16-year-old Little League softball team from South Bend, Ind., had plenty of World Series experience to fall back on in its game with the Vidalia 15s and 16s, who were representing Louisiana Wednesday night.

Vidalia head coach Micah Hughes said it was the sixth-consecutive year South Bend had made it to the World Series, and it showed when the team from Indiana topped Vidalia 9-0 to eliminate it from championship contention in the Senior League Softball World Series.

“The other team was a great hitting team,” Hughes said. “They were on, and we came out flat. They hit the ball, and we didn’t.”

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South Bend, who was representing the Central United States, pounded out 15 hits in the game, while Vidalia, representing Southwest U.S., had just two.

Paige Bryan and Nikki Harbor each collected singles for Vidalia.

The loss dropped Vidalia to 1-2 in the tournament, which pits the world’s best softball teams consisting of 15- and 16-year-olds. The loss also eliminated Vidalia from a chance to win the World Series, but the team will continue to play for pride.

“We play Florida tomorrow and will play a consolation to see where we place,” Hughes said. “We can still get as high as fifth with a win tomorrow. Fifth in the world is still good.”

Hughes said the experience has been great for the girls from Vidalia, especially considering the odds that were stacked against them.

“(The tournament) started with over 4,000 girls and it’s down to 120,” Hughes said. “Coming from a small community like Vidalia it says a lot. Most of the teams are from big metropolises, and we’re from a small town. We had 30 girls to choose from, and I talked to one coach who said he had over 400 to choose from.”

With the championship out of reach, Hughes said the team would be able to relax and have fun for the rest of the tournament.

“I think it will be a little better,” he said. “The pressure is off of them now.”

Vidalia will face Florida at 4:30 p.m. today.