INSIDE THE BATTER’S BOX: Vidalia looks to build off 9-0 start with strong finish
VIDALIA — The Vidalia Vikings’ perfect season was seemingly going to come to an end against Franklin Parish Tuesday.
After giving up four runs in the top of the inning, the Vikings trailed Franklin Parish 7-1. The team huddled around Vidalia head coach Kale Davis before the bottom of the fifth, and Davis challenged his club.
“I said, ‘Guys, we talk about being special, but these are the games where you see what you’re made of,’” Davis said.
The Vikings rallied. Vidalia squeezed three runs in during the bottom of the sixth inning and scored three more to tie the game in the seventh. In the eighth inning, down by one run with the bases loaded, Cole Cangemi came to the plate and singled in the winning run to keep his Vikings undefeated.
“If you have a team that gets down, and everybody is worried only about themselves, the game is over,” said Cangemi who went 3-4 with 3 RBI in the win. “But now, every one of us will rally back, and you saw that in the last inning. We worked as a team and we fought hard.”
For Cangemi, that’s the biggest difference between this year’s club and last year’s team. Davis acknowledged last year’s team started the turnaround with positive attitudes, and it’s been further reinforced in 2015.
“We’ve got a good group of guys that stick to it, and they don’t get down,” Davis said. “I remember a few years back when things weren’t going right, you would see guys put their head down. That’s not happening anymore.”
Of course, Davis was quick to point out having multiple returning starters has allowed Vidalia to go 9-0 in the early goings. William Handjis, Cangemi, Alan Doyle and Chandler Grayson, who has taken on a larger role in the rotation, all return to form what Cangemi believed to be the deepest pitching staff he’s been a part of.
“It’s relaxing almost,” Cangemi said. “You don’t have to be stressed about going out there every other game. We can take breaks now, and just being able to have people that you believe in going out there, it’s easier.”
Davis said the Vikings’ pitching is a little bit ahead of Vidalia’s bats currently, but he expects that to level out soon.
Before the season began, Davis stressed about having to replace Josh Foucher and Kyle Coley in the lineup.
“We’ve had a lot of guys step up for them,” Davis said. “Landon Seyfarth stepped up and is batting cleanup with Alan Doyle still batting in the fifth hole. Of course, we still have three of the best bats in the area at the top of the order with Handjis, Tyler (Sandifer) and Cangemi.”
With district play beginning Thursday against Caldwell, Davis said the Vikings are hoping to accomplish greater goals, with their sights set on a district title. Cangemi reflected that sentiment.
“We’re coming for it hard this year,” Cangemi said.