19U Purple Sox ready for World Series

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

For the second straight weekend, the Vidalia Dixie Majors Purple Sox will be heading to Monroe, La.

But only this time, there will be a little more at stake.

Vidalia is headed to play in the 19-and-under World Series after a memorable performance last weekend at the state tournament.

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The Purple Sox went 4-0, including a 9-4 win over Bastrop in the championship game.

“This just shows the baseball talent that we have in this area,” Purple Sox coach Matthew Freeman said. “I didn’t really have to do much. I was just managing a bunch of all-stars.”

The Purple Sox are slated to face off against Texas West in its opening round game on Saturday. Each team is guaranteed to play at least two games, and Freeman said his squad is more than up for the challenge.

“It’s going to take pitchers throwing strikes, and everyone on defense doing their part,” Freeman said. “We’re going to have to have some really good at-bats, and move runners over and score a run every inning.”

If the Vidalia-based team performs anything like it did this past weekend, then it’ll be in good shape.

The Purple Sox defeated Bastrop earlier in the state tournament, 8-1, behind a strong pitching performance from former Delta Charter School star Lee Lancaster.

The Sox then knocked off powerhouse Jefferson Parish Recreation Department in extra innings, 6-5.

“It was one of the most exciting games I’ve ever been a part of,” Freeman said. “We just refused to quit.”

Former Monterey High School star Jake Barlow launched a home run in the seventh inning to send the game into extra-innings before the Purple Sox eventually won in the eighth.

“It was a big one,” Barlow said. “I went up there waiting for a fastball because I knew he couldn’t throw a curveball for a strike.”

The Delta State University standout said the reaction from his teammates made the blast even more special.

“We were hyped. We were lit,” Barlow said.

Barlow, who is entering his sophomore season at DSU, is one of the more experienced players on the team and tries to pass his knowledge down to his teammates.

“I just hope to teach (the younger guys) some things about the game,” he said. “(Adams County Christian School’s) Jack (Whitehead) has been a big time part of this club because we didn’t have a catcher, and he comes in as a 15 year old and plays a big-time role.”

Barlow said the key this weekend will be a simple one: “We just have to keep hitting the ball and playing as a team.”

The tournament will be played at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.