Vidalia Vikings win baseball season opener with strong pitching, clutch hitting

Published 12:45 am Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Vidalia High School’s Dylan Troxler has the nickname Big Country. But after Tuesday night, his teammates might have to start calling him Big Hitter.

Troxler came in as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth, delivering a long fly ball to center field to score Tony Tolliver in what would be the winning run over Oak Grove, 2-1.

“I was hoping it would go over (the fence), but I still got the scoring run and that’s all that matters,” Troxler said. “I was super happy.”

Email newsletter signup

Vidalia coach Mike Norris said it was good to see young players stepping up in the Vikings’ first game of the season — especially as he expected the hitting to be a little rusty.

Troxler — a sophomore — was credited with one of Vidalia’s two RBIs on the night, while freshman Dylan LaPraire registered one hit in his first varsity game.

“I was real pleased,” Norris said. “We put Troxler in to pinch hit, which is not an easy thing to do. He came in and does what he does. That’s the reason we put him in.”

Troxler said he was happy to do his part, replacing Dom Harveston in the sixth spot for his clutch at bat.

“You just have to stay confident and stay happy,” he said. “You have to let everyone else do their job, and when it’s time for you to go in, you do yours.

“Everybody has a job, whether that’s sitting on the bench, going to get foul balls or being the starting pitcher.”

And as Tuesday night starter pitcher, junior Tristan Weatherly did his job, too.

Weatherly pitched all seven innings, allowing just two hits and striking out 12 batters.

Weatherly also recorded a hit in the win, scoring LaPraire on a third-inning single.

“Tristan gave us a Tristan performance,” Norris said. “That’s what we expect.”

Though Norris said a win is a win, he noted that there is much room for improvement. The Vikings committed three errors on the night.

“The errors — I’m not pleased with that at all,” he said. “I can take bad hitting at the plate right now, but defense is all we’ve been doing for the past two weeks because we haven’t been able to do anything else. We just weren’t good at it.”

Cam Rodgers, Christian Fort, and Harveston all also ended with one hit for Vidalia.

The Vikings (1-0) will play again at 6 p.m. today at home against Block, weather permitting.