Vidalia looks for long run

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, February 26, 2013

JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Vidalia High School freshman softball player Tatum Turner takes aim at a pitch during a team practice inside the school's gymnasium on Monday afternoon.

Vidalia High School freshman softball player Tatum Turner takes aim at a pitch during a team practice inside the school’s gymnasium on Monday afternoon.

Vidalia — It may be Vidalia High School senior Laura Perilloux’s final time to shine on the softball diamond, but that is not on her mind to start the season, she said.

Perilloux, a pitcher and outfielder for the Lady Vikings, is the only senior on this year’s squad, and she said her focus is being a leader for her teammates.

“I feel very responsible for being a leader,” she said. “The team comes to me with questions, and I try to be patient and lead the team.”

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Perilloux said her patience pays off when her young teammates make mistakes, but she loves the attitude this year’s team possesses.

“We are a lot younger this year, but this team has a lot of fight,” she said. “We don’t let mistakes bring us down.”

Vidalia head coach Gary Parnham also sees the challenges his team faces this season, but he expects to see his team improve as they gain experience.

“We’re a young, young ball club, so right now my expectations are for us to get better as the year goes along,” Parnham said. “I’ve got one senior and three juniors, and the rest are of the team are sophomores and freshmen, so we’re really young, and we’re going to go through some growing pains, so it should improve as the year goes on.”

Perilloux said it helps that she went through some of the same growing pains when she was a young varsity player, and she can help guide her teammates through the rough spots.

Some of the Lady Vikings’ got some extra games under their belts this summer when they advanced deep into their summer tournament and played games in Delaware. Parnham said he was pleased that a few of his players got that experience.

“It always makes a difference if you can play year round, especially for pitching purposes, and both of my one (Perilloux) and two (Taylor Rodgers) pitchers played all summer on that team, and then they played travel ball all fall,” Parnham said. “It’s common sense that the more you play, the more work you get, the better you’re going to be.”

Perilloux said she is glad to share the circle with Rodgers this season.

“My freshman and sophomore seasons, I pitched every inning of every game,” she said. “That gets really tiring, so I love having somebody else.”

The two pitchers have carried the Lady Vikings to a 3-1 record so far this season, and Parnham said that is a good sign, because the offense is still a work in progress.

“Right now, pitching is way ahead of hitting, which it normally is this time of the year,” he said. “We’re swinging the bats decently, we’re just not great right now, and we have to improve on that big time. But I expect our hitting to catch up with our pitching, and hopefully things go well.”

Perilloux said she expected to feel more pressure on herself and her team going into her senior season, but she is relaxed and looking forward to what her team can do this year.

“We made the playoffs last year, but we lost in the first round,” she said. “I definitely want to go further this year, so we can improve every year (I was on varsity).”

Vidalia will travel today to face Neville.