Jake Spears shuts down Bolton to upset Bears on the road

Published 11:46 am Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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ALEXANDRIA, La. — Jake Spears overcame a rough start to his relief outing in the bottom of the fourth inning by pitching three straight scoreless innings as the Vidalia High School Vikings rallied to upset the Bolton High School Bears 13-8 last Monday afternoon.

It was just the second win of the season for Vidalia, but it was a much-needed win for a Vikings team looking to get momentum on their side. And not only that, it was on the road against one of the best teams in the state.

“They faced the same obstacles they’ve faced all year. But they were able to control their emotions. They fought hard. A lot of energy and a lot of effort. It was definitely a good team win,” Vikings head coach Seth Thompson said.

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Thompson added that his Vidalia squad defeated a Bolton team that, at the time, was ranked No. 2 in LHSAA Division II.

“That was a big challenge playing a bigger school with a lot of momentum. But they went in with no fear and competed the whole seven innings,” Thompson noted.

Bolton got on the scoreboard first with one run in the bottom of the second inning, but Vidalia responded with a four-run rally in the top of the third inning for its first lead of the game. It looked like the Vikings were on their way to a stunning blowout win after plating three runs in the top of the fourth to go up 7-1.

But that’s when the Bears answered with a seven-run rally in the bottom of the fourth to retake the lead at 8-7. It was during that frame that Spears entered in relief with one out and the bases loaded.

“He had hands-down the gutsiest performance I’ve ever seen. He came on in relief. He came in and their best hitters were coming to the plate. He initially had control issues, walking the first two batters. As soon as he came in, he gave up five straight runs. Then he settled in and struck out the next two batters he faced and battled the rest of the game,” Thompson said bout Spears’s performance on the mound. “It was a real gutty moment for him.”

As the winning pitcher, Spears himself was charged with two runs allowed on four hits and four walks to go with six strikeouts over his three and two-thirds innings. He also went 3-for-4 with a double and three runs batted in.

“As a hitter, he’s always competitive. He leads the team in batting at .570. It seems like the pitchers are throwing beach balls at him,” Thompson said.

Vidalia tied the game at 8-8 thanks to one run in the top of the fifth inning and took the lead for good with a five-run rally in the top of the sixth inning. 

Another player who stepped up at the plate for the Vikings was Gage Cupstid, who went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Thompson noted that Cupstid’s double was his first extra-base hit of the season.

“He actually had not been hitting the ball too well this season. This was his coming-out performance,” Thompson said about Cupstid. “He was competitive all night at the plate and hi the ball really hard.”

Matthew Havard reach base all four times he was at the plate as he went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and was walked twice. Terrance Williams had a double himself for the Vikings.

Vidalia (2-5) plays host to Alexandria Country Day School for a varsity-only game at 5 p.m. Friday.