Vidalia creeps closer to securing home playoff game

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 21, 2017

Vidalia High School is within arm’s reach of being able to host a playoff game for the first time in a decade.

The Vikings got a little closer Thursday night.

Leo Lozano socked the second pitch he saw in the seventh inning to drive in Christian Fort, giving Vidalia a come from behind 7-6 win over district rival Winnfield on senior night.

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“That win, I think, wrapped up a home playoff game for us,” first-year Vidalia coach Mike Norris said. “It’s big that we get to host a playoff game. We haven’t done that in a while.”

Vidalia’s lone senior Chris Linder struggled at the plate Thursday, but his teammates picked him up.

Cameron Rodgers, Tanner Jenkins and Tristian Weatherly all had two hits to lead the Vikings. Lozano finished 1-for-3.

“That wasn’t a blooper, either,” Norris said of Lozano’s seventh-inning hit. “That was a rocket — a no doubter.”

Lozano said he was looking for a fastball, and the junior second baseman didn’t miss when he got his pitch.

“It felt wonderful,” he said. “I saw it and just hit it. We made it happen tonight.”

The sixteenth ranked Vikings (16-11, 6-4) earned this one after falling behind the No. 19 Tigers 6-2 after three innings.

“These kids don’t quit,” Norris said. “The thing about sports … the frustration of being down early in the game and the high right now (after a win). The emotions, that’s what we love about sports.”

Winnfield squandered a scoring chance in the top of the seventh after putting two runners on base with nobody out.  However, Weatherly wiggled out of the jam, punctuating the escape with his seventh strikeout of the game and pushing the sophomore hurlers yearly total to 103.

“That’s in the top 10 percent of the country,” Norris said.

Weatherly pitched all seven innings for the Vikings, allowing just three earned runs.

Trailing 6-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Vidalia rallied for four runs to the game. Paul Cupstid walked to start the frame, and then Rodgers roped a triple to right field. Rodgers was able to score after a Winnfield throwing error on the play.

“That was the spark,” Norris said. “Momentum left their dugout and came to our dugout.”

The Vikings tacked on two more runs that frame, highlighted by a Jenkins RBI single to center field.

“(Jenkins) broke his arm and was out for six weeks, came back and then got the flu,” Norris said. “He was my best hitter when he got hurt, and it showed tonight.”

Vidalia will attempt to bolster its position in the power rankings even further at 5 p.m. tonight when it hosts Family Community Christian in the regular season finale.

“We could rise even more,” Norris said. “You always want to be as high of a seed as you can be.”



WHS 033 000 0 — 6 11 3

VHS 110 040 1 — 7 9 1

WP — Tristan Weatherly (7 IP, 3 ER, 7 Ks)

LP — E. Tinnerello (6.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 Ks)

HITTERS — VHS: Cameron Rodgers (2-4, 2 Rs, 1 RBI, 1 3B), Tanner Jenkins (2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI), Tristan Weatherly (2-3), Dominic Harveston (1-3, 1 RBI), Paul Cupstid (1-2, 1 R), Leo Lozano (1-3, 1 RBI).

RECORD — VHS: 16-11, 6-4

UP NEXT — VHS: Hosts Family Community Christian at 5 p.m. today.