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|Vikings turn to swan in late season|
Just how bad was it?
Well, let's just say on March 21 when they were 4-7 and making the Bad News Bears look like the New York Yankees it was bad.
And when they were 5-8 on March 23 and looking like the second-worst team in district (Buckeye was 2-12 at that point), I was looking up the last time Vidalia High's baseball team finished with a losing record.
But something happened to that ugly duckling on April 19.
A 16-4 win over Block was followed by a 6-5 win over Bolton, a 7-5 win over Avoyelles and an impressive 10-3 win over Marksville to finish in second place in the district.
But apparently, a lot of folks were still not convinced because the Vidalia Viking baseball team, which finished the season winning five straight games, was given a No. 24 seed and the task of having to return to face Iowa for the second straight year and take on a Yellow Jacket team that had them hanging their heads after a 17-7 drumming in a first round playoff contest.
But this wasn't the same Vidalia High baseball team that struggled in late March and early February.
"This is a hard-working bunch," said Vidalia High head baseball coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir. "I think our early-season schedule helps us. We play the bigger schools and it makes us better. And we had to fight to the wire in district. We had some close games and some tough games. This team showed a lot of character. We took some lumps early, but it helped us. We have a history of beating people we shouldn't beat"
You won't hear it from him, but Hoffpauir is a big reason that once again Vidalia advanced further than most expected.
Hoffpauir, who resurrected the Vidalia baseball program in 1979, is 463-203 at the school and has a playoff record of 27-14, including a state championship in 1996.
You can always count on his teams playing hard and being mentally ready to play, especially come playoff time.
Oh, by the way, the last time Vidalia's baseball team had a losing season was in 1989, when they finished 5-8. It seemed important about a month ago.
Don't look for it to happen anytime soon. And certainly not next season.
Vidalia loses only one senior, Jake DeWeese, from this year's squad.
As E.D. White head coach Shane Trosclair said about Vidalia after his team defeated the Vikings Tuesday, "That's a team I wouldn't want to play next year. That's a team I want to avoid."
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