Errors doom Vidalia, open door for 0-2 district start
VIDALIA — With a 9-7 loss to Caldwell Parish Thursday night, the Vidalia Vikings went from starting 9-0 to looking at an 0-2 start in district.
Three errors committed by Vidalia in the top of the seventh inning allowed Caldwell to score four runs to take a 9-5 lead and eventual win. Vidalia head coach Kale Davis said it’s not the start to district the Vikings desired, but it’s up to the veteran bunch to regroup and rebound.
“It’s a hard one to lose,” Davis said. “I just hope we take something away from it tonight and get it back together. We still have quite a few games to go, so we have plenty of time to make it right. That’s on the agenda.”
Vidalia starting pitcher Chandler Grayson and the Vikings defense looked strong early, with the game tied 1-1 heading into the fourth inning. Following a Cameron Hedrix single, a Viking error allowed Caldwell to score a run in the fourth inning before Bobby Bruce and Zac Brown hit RBI singles to cap off a four-run inning. But Vidalia would answer right back in the fourth inning, down 5-1. Vidalia shortstop William Handjis stepped to the plate with two runners on in the bottom of the fourth, and drilled a single through the middle with a 3-0 count to load the bases. Handjis had two of the Vikings’ three hits in the game. A Caldwell error that followed scored two runs before a wild pitch scored another for the Vikings, making it 5-4. Another Caldwell wild pitch allowed Vidalia to tie the game in the fifth, and heading into the seventh and final inning the game was tied 5-5.
After giving up one run in the seventh, Davis elected to take Grayson out of the ballgame and place the ball in Handjis’ hand with one out and the bases loaded. After walking a run in, Handjis got a ground ball, but it was misplayed in the infield and allowed Caldwell to score two more runs to increase its lead to 9-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Davis said the Vikings’ pitching was on point, but the five errors committed on defense was far too many for Vidalia to overcome.
“Chandler did everything we asked him to do,” Davis said. “He threw strikes and kept us in the ballgame, but errors are always going to hurt you.”
The Vikings loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning on walks, but Cole Cangemi grounded out to end the game. After the game, Davis and the coaching staff chatted with their group for 10 minutes, trying to point out everything that went wrong. Davis believes his team has the character to overcome an 0-2 start to district.
“We’re going to be fine,” Davis said. “I’ve got a group that is strong-minded. We’ll bounce back here.”