Too many miscues: Vidalia struggles at plate, defensively in loss to FCCS, 4-2

Published 12:36 am Tuesday, March 6, 2018

By Garrett Kroeger

The Natchez Democrat

Vidalia High School softball coach Forrest Foster could not hide his frustration.

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He bit his lip, had his hands on his hips, and shook his head every so often. Foster knew his team was better than how it was playing.

“You got to score runs to win a softball game,” Foster said. “We are a much better hitting team than we showed. We waited until the seventh inning to make strong, solid contact with the ball.”

On Monday night at the Concordia Recreational Complex, the Lady Vikings’ bats were frozen and were riddled by miscue after miscue in their 4-1 loss against the Family Community Christian School Warriors.

In beginning, it looked like Vidalia was on its way to strong hitting day as junior Shelbi Cross —the Lady Vikings’ No. 2 batter — smacked a strong triple in between left and center field at her first at bat of the game. However, the blue and white couldn’t muster another hit until the sixth inning.

“As a coach, you don’t understand that,” Foster said. “Granted, the pitcher was a little bit slow. But after the first inning, first time at bat, the second time they should be hammering that ball. We didn’t make any adjustments.

“Like I told (the team), you got to be aggressive in the first inning. You can’t be passive and win softball games. You got to be aggressive, and we are not aggressive enough.”

While the Lady Vikings’ bats were not doing them any favors, their starting pitcher, Sara Cockerham, was certainly giving them a chance. The junior tossed six innings while striking out eight batters. But, Vidalia’s defense did not help her out.

All around the infield and outfield, the Lady Vikings were making error after error. A dropped pop fly here, an overthrow there and even some dropped balls at first base.

Those miscues not only frustrated Foster, but it also frustrated Cockerham. However, the pitcher couldn’t show it if she wanted to give her team a shot to win.

“It’s very frustrating,” Cockerham said. “The last few years, I have been trying to keep calm because you have to or there goes the whole ball game. I try to keep calm. I try to laugh or smile through it, but it doesn’t work. But I keep reminding myself I have to do that or there goes the ball game.”

Earlier this season against Caldwell Parish, the team Foster believes will win the LHSAA Class 3A State Championship, their coach told Foster that if Vidalia could clean up its mistakes, the Lady Vikings could easily be a 20-win team. Now, that realm of possibility is out the window because Vidalia does not have enough opportunities left on its schedule. Yet, Foster definitely agrees with the take his team could be that good. He just doesn’t know how to get them to level at the moment and that is frustrating him even more.

“This team really has me puzzled,” Foster said. “I haven’t figured out yet how to get them to play a complete ball game. I haven’t figured out yet how to get them motivated from the first inning on. If we can ever do that, we will be OK. It’s like we have a lackadaisical attitude. Like we are supposed to win when we walk out there and that doesn’t happen. Tonight is living proof.

“I just don’t understand how we cannot hit this level of low pitching. It’s frustrating, it really is.”

Foster and the Lady Vikings cannot dwell on their frustrations and lack of aggressiveness as they are set to take the diamond again in less than 24 hours, at 5:30 p.m. today at Harrisonburg.

Until Vidalia figures out how to play a complete game from the first to the seventh inning, Foster expects the same result like Monday’s.

“You’ve got to play from start to finish,” Foster said. “We played at the end of this one and not at the beginning of it. If we continue to do that, we will continue to get beat.”