Indians Are State Runners-up
The Vidalia High School Indians softball team came home from Columbus as the State Runners-up after the Championship Tournament last week. The Indians dropped their first round game but fought back through the losers' bracket to face off with the defending State Champion Braves of Heard County. Vidalia gave them a run but fell in the Championship.
Vidalia took on the Blue Devils of Bremen in the first round of the double elimination tournament. In the top of the first inning Bremen took the early lead as Bailey Holland didn’t quite have her A game in the circle. A walk, wild pitch, and passed ball moved a runner over the third and then a soft line drive put the Devils on top 1-0. That was followed by a two-run home run to give Bremen a 3-0 lead. Holland settled down and recorded a couple of strikeouts to help get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the first inning Tori Wright stepped up and hit a leadoff homerun to dead center to close the lead to 3-1. A walk and hit by Alli Taufmann put two runners on for the Indians, but a strikeout ended the VHS threat.
Bremen added a run on a triple and a shot to the fence to put them on top 4-1 heading to the bottom of the frame. VHS loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning, and then Emma Humphrey came through with a two-out, three-run double to tie the game at 4-4.
Bremen went back on top in the fourth inning as they plated two runs. Bremen had runners on second and third, and a line drive down the right-field line put them on top 6-4 over the Indians.
VHS had runners on in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, but they could not get the big hits when they needed them as they fell 6-4 to Bremen.
Between Holland and Tymber Harris, who pitched the final three innings, the Indian pitchers recorded 14 strikeouts in the game With the loss the Indians moved into the losers’ bracket and had to fight their way back to the Championship Game.
Vs. Union Co.
Up next for Vidalia in the losers’ bracket was Union County. VHS wasted no time in this game as Wright led off with a single and Holland came through with a two-run home run, and she was followed by Humphrey with a solo shot to give the Indians and early 3-0 lead.
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In the bottom of the first inning Union loaded the bases, and a fielder’s choice scored a run for them. Holland struck out the next two batters to get out of the jam with a 3-1 lead. In the top of the third inning Wright hit a solo home run for a 4-1 Indian lead. In the fourth inning Humphrey hit a two-run single that scored Jesslyn Collins and Madison Starr to push the VHS lead to 6-1. Rileigh Robinson hit a single that scored two more to give VHS and 8-1 lead. In the fifth innning Matlin Mead had a 2-RBI single for a 10-1 lead, and Wright then hit a threerun home run to give VHS a 13-1 lead. By the end of the frame the Indians were on top 15-1.
Vidalia held in the bottom of the inning to take the win by the run rule, 15-1.
Vs. Jeff Davis
That set Vidalia up against Region foe Jeff Davis, who had lost to Heard in the second round of the winners’ bracket. JD got the scoring started in the bottom of the first inning. A walk and back-to-back singles put the Yellow Jackets on top 1-0. This game was a pitching duel. Harris came out in the bottom of the second inning with Holland coming in to relieve her. Holland got out of a jam in that inning and didn’t allow a single run over the remainder of the game. VHS jumped on top in the fifth inning as Bralie Carey was hit by a pitch and then Starr came through with a two-run home run to give VHS a 2-1 lead. That was all VHS needed as Holland held off the Yellow Jackets to get the win, 2-1.
That set up a rematch between VHS and Bremen. Neither team scored over the first two innings, but in the top of the third inning Starr and Holland were on base and Robinson came through with a three-run home run to give the Indians the lead, 3- 0. In the top of the fourth inning VHS added another run. With Collins and Starr on base Holland hit a sacrifice fly that scored Collins for a 4-0 lead. In the top of the sixth inning VHS added to their lead as Humphrey and Tuafmann drove in runs to put VHS up 6-0. Bremen finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning as they loaded the bases. A single drove in a run, and a sacrifice fly brought in another run, but Robinson saved a grand slam with a great catch at the fence. That made the score 6-2 heading to the seventh inning.
Both teams held in the seventh as VHS took the win 6-2 to advance to the semifinals against Dade County. In this game Holland may have had only five stikeouts, but that was enough to put her over the mark of 700 for her career.
Vs. Dade Co.
The Wolverines of Dade had been sent to the losers’ bracket after a loss to Heard County, 10-1. Vidalia picked up a run in the top of the first inning on a solo home run by Wright to take the early lead. In the top of the third inning they blew the game open as Wright delivered her second home run of the game, this time a three-run blast for a 4-0 lead. Holland followed with a double and then Humphrey got a single, and Robinson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Taufmann hit into a fielder’s choice, but a run did come in to score. Lydia Smith then hit a shot off the pitcher’s glove to score a run, and the Indians added one more for a 7-0 lead.
VHS picked up a run in the top of the fourth inning on a hit by Robinson to put VHS up 8-0, but in the bottom of the inning Dade finally got on the board. Dade had the bases loaded and two runs came in on walks by Harris. Starr came in then to pitch and allowed just one more run to make the score 8-3 going to the fifth inning.
In the fifth Dade added a run off and error to close it to 8-4, but that was as close as they could get as VHS took the win over the Wolverines.
Vs. Heard Co.
That moved the Indians into the finals against Heard County, the defending State Champions. There was a lot of excitement in the game, but in the end the Indians couldn’t hold on for the win. Vidalia had needed to win two games over Heard to claim the title.
Vidalia was the home team in this game and took the lead in the bottom of the first inning as Taufmann got a hit with two runners on base and two outs. That put the Indians on top 1-0.
In the top of the second inning Heard put two runners on base on errors. A hit brought in a run to tie the game at 1-1, but Holland got out of the inning allowing just the one. In the top of the fourth inning Heard scored a run on a squeeze play to take the lead 2-1 over the Indians. Then a fly ball went to Collins in right field, she made the catch for the second out, but the runner on third base tagged up and went home. VHS thought she had left the bag early so threw back to third and she was called out, sending the game to the bottom of the fourth with VHS down just 2-1. Heard added another run in the top of the fifth inning as they extended their lead to 3-1, but in the bottom of the inning the Indians jumped out on top on one big swing. VHS put a few hits together, including one by Cristal Franklin to load the bases. Up next was Smith, who hit a grand slam to put the Indians on top 5-3 in the State Championship game.
But in the top of the sixth inning Heard came storming back. With runners on second and third VHS intentionally walked a batter to load the bases, and then a hit brought in two runs to tie the game at 5-5. Then a run scored on a single and two more scored on another base hit as the Braves took an 8-5 lead over the Indians heading to the seventh inning.
Heard scored two more runs on a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to give them a 10-5 lead. In the bottom of the inning VHS loaded the bases with just one out. An error on Heard brought in a run to make it 10-6, but Heard held on and took the win, 10-6 to repeat as State Champions.
VHS Head Coach Ben Beck emotionally said after the game, “I am happy for the girls and for the fight that they showed, and the way that they represent Vidalia and our community. This is a great group of girls. We want to say think you to the community for all that they have done for us.”
The Indians overall hit an astounding 10 home runs during their six games in the State Championship Tournament.
VHS finished the year as the State Runners-up in AA and with a record of 32-7. The Indians will be losing several players off this year’s team. Those graduating are Bailey Holland, Rileigh Robinson, Jesslyn Collins, Alli Taufmann, Logan Menard, Janna Hyers, and Matlin Mead.