Vidalia comes from behind to top district rival Avoyelles

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 24, 2017

Through three-and-half innings of play Thursday, a win appeared bleak for Vidalia High School.

But over the final innings, the Vikings demonstrated the strong play that had them riding a four-game winning streak.

Vidalia scored nine runs in its final three innings at the plate and Tristan Weatherly rebounded after a shaky start as the Vikings came from behind to top Avoyelles 13-7 and sweep the season series from their district rivals.

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“These kids stayed in it,” Vidalia coach Mike Norris said. “They battled, made some adjustments and did what they needed to do.”

Avoyelles jumped out to a 5-1 lead after scoring two runs in the first and three more in the second, but the Vikings didn’t blink.

Vidalia’s comeback was ignited with a three-run fourth in which the Vikings tied the Mustangs 7-7. Christian Fort highlighted the rally with a run-scoring double that one-hopped the left field fence.

The Vikings then took the lead in the fifth, 8-7, after Tony Tolliver swiped second and third base before scoring on a wild pitch. Tolliver, who scored four runs, alertly stole third with some after noticing a mental lapse from the Mustang defense.

“He saw the pitcher and catcher were lobbing the ball back to each other. He took it and it got us a run,” Norris said. “We talk every day at practice about how to win awareness. That was huge, and to a team that deflates them.”

But the sophomore outfielder wasn’t finished. Tolliver laced a two-run single to center in the sixth that put Vidalia up 11-7, and the Vikings added two-more to cap off the night.

“He just flipped his hands at (the ball) and got it in the outfield,” Norris said.

Weatherly surrendered six runs through the first three frames, but bounced back to limit Avoyelles to just one run over the final four. The sophomore right-hander tallied eight strikeouts and allowed five earned runs.

“He got lathered up finally,” Norris said. “He’s a young guy, maybe we need to teach him better on how to be more prepared for a game. When I see a pitcher coming out of his bullpen for a game, I want to see him lathered up, I want to see him sweating.”

Cameron Rodgers led Vidalia with two hits and drove in three runs. J.R. Davis scored two runs for Vidalia, while Fort, Leo Lozano, Dominik Harveston, Tyler Cupit, Chris Linder and Paul Cupstid all scored runs.

Vidalia (11-6, 2-0) will attempt to extend its winning streak to six games Saturday when it hosts Family Community Christian.