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VHS Into State Playoffs

The Vidalia High School Indians had a busy week as they wrapped up the regular season last week. They took on Appling County in a three-game Region series, picking up one big win, and then wrapped it up with a win over Pierce County on Thursday to secure a spot in the State Playoffs. vs. Appling Game 1 The Vidalia Indians went to Baxley on Monday night to take on the Appling County Pirates in Game 1 of their critical three game region series. The Indians took a positive step toward making the state playoffs with a big 4-1 win. The Pirates will come to Greg James Field Tuesday night for the second game with a 5:45 start time. It will be Senior Night as well. The win gives the Indians a 14-11-1 record and a 7-5 region record.

The Indians used three pitchers on the night. Veer Patel got the start and went two innings allowing no runs and no hits. He was replaced by Carson Ricks, who also pitched two innings giving up no runs and only one hit. Tucker Mc-Donald came on to pitch the last three innings allowing only a pop fly single and picking up the win.

The Indians picked up only five hits themselves but finally got some clutch hits and took advantage of some walks. Walker Moncus led the offense with two hits. Cason Banks, Lawson Lowe and Dawson Stewart also picked up hits.

The Indians jumped on top in the 1st inning. Banks and Moncus opened the game with singles. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch but after two strike outs it didn't look good. However, Lowe came through with a big two strike single to left center knocking in both runners. After the Pirates went down on a double play in the bottom half, it was 2-0 Indians after one complete.

The Indians struck again in the top of the 5th inning, scoring two more times. Conner Whited led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a ground ball out. Banks drew a walk, putting runners on 1st and 2nd. Moncus followed with a double down the left field line scoring Whited. Kaleb Bennett got a sacrifice fly to left to score Banks. McDonald came on to pitch in the bottom half, and after setting the Pirates down 1-2-, the Indians had a 4-0 lead after five complete.

The Indians carried the 4-0 lead to the bottom of the 7th inning and looked to be home easy after two quick ground ball outs. However, a couple of Indian miscues allowed one run to score and then a walk allowed the tying run to come to the plate. A hard hit ground ball back through the middle was deflected by McDonald to the shortstop Ricks, who threw to first for the final out and securing the 4-1 win.

Game 2

The Appling County Pirates came to Vidalia on Tuesday night and took game two of the region series by a 5-1 score, clinching the 3AA Region Championship. Game three will be played in Baxley Wednesday night as the Indians try to keep their playoff hopes alive. With the loss, the Indians stand at 14-12-1 on the season and 7-6 in region play. They will complete the regular season in Blackshear against Pierce County on Thursday night.

Dawson Stewart started on the mound for the Indians taking the loss. He went five innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out three. Jackson Berry and Carson Ricks pitched in relief.

The Indians could not get much going on offense even though they had opportunities. They had two on with only one out in the 1st, 4th and 5th innings but could only scratch one run. Strikeouts were the key problem. Cason Banks was the only Indian to get more than one hit as he carded two singles.

There were a lot of runners for both teams, but neither one was able to score any runs until the 5th inning. In the top half the Pirates got a runner on with an error, then got a home run to go up 2-0. In the bottom half Banks got a one out single and Moncus walked. Kaleb Bennett hit what looked to be a three run homer, but it hit the fence and only one run could score. With two runners on and only one out, the Indians looked in good shape to tie or go ahead, but two strikeouts ended the threat leaving the Pirates up 2-1 after five complete.

In the 6th inning the Pirates used five walks and one hit to score three more times making it a 5-1 game. When the Indians couldn't muster a score in the 6th or 7th innings, the Pirates had won 5-1 and clinched the 3AA Region title.

Game 3

The Vidalia Indians and Appling County Pirates met in Baxley Wednesday night for Game 3 of their region series with both teams having won a game each. The Pirates took Game 3 and the series with a 9-6 win. Errors and strikeouts once again doomed the Indians chances to win. The loss coupled with Pierce County's win at Toombs County means that the Indians must beat Pierce County at Blackshear on Thursday night to place fourth in the region and get a chance to play in the first round of the state playoffs.

Walker Moncus started on the mound for the Indians, going 1 and 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on four hits. Jackson Berry came on in relief pitching the next 3 and 2/3 innings and taking the loss. He allowed four runs on five hits, walking one and hitting three batters. Andrew Norfleet pitched the last inning getting the Pirates 1-2-3.

The Indians totaled 10 hits on the night with Moncus going 3-4, Lawson Lowe going 2-3 and Conner Whited also going 2-3. The Indians scored all six runs in one inning but could not get any clutch hits in the other six frames to add any runs.

The Pirates used four errors combined with four hits to score six runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning and added another run in the bottom of the 4th inning on another error to go up 7-0 after four complete.

In the top of the 5th inning the Indians scored six runs to pull within one of the Pirates. Banks led the inning off with a single. Moncus then singled and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Banks scored on another wild pitch with Moncus moving to third as Ty Carter walked. Berry doubled down the 3rd base line driving in Moncus and putting runners on second and third. Lowe was hit by a pitch loading the bases with no outs. After a strikeout Norfleet drove in a run with a ground ball out and then Berry scored the fourth run on another wild pitch as Lowe moved to third.

Whited and McDonald got hit by pitches to load the bases again with the score now 7-4. Banks hit a ground ball through the second baseman's legs for an error allowing two more runs to score making it a one run game. A pop fly out to the catcher ended the inning with the score at 7-6 Pirates going into the bottom of the 5th inning.

The Pirates used a couple of hits, a walk, a hit batter and a ground out to get two runs back increasing their lead to 9-6 after five complete and with neither team scoring again. That is the way the game ended. vs. Pierce

The Vidalia Indians went to Pierce County Thursday night for the final regular season and region game needing a win to get into the first round of the state playoffs. It was a tight game with all the scoring occurring in the first two innings. The Indians played their best defensive game of the year in taking a 5-3 win over the Bears. The win gave the Indians the 4th seed from Region 3AA, and they will play the 1st seed Thompson Bulldogs from Region 4AA in Thompson on Monday, April 24. The Indians ended the regular season with a 15-13-1 (8-7 region) record.

Veer Patel started on the mound for the Indians going only 1/3 of an inning while giving up three runs on a hit batter, a walk and three hits. Tucker McDonald came on to put out the fire, getting a double play ground ball to end the inning. McDonald went on to pitch the final 6 innings and claim the win. He coaxed two more double plays with the last one sealing the victory. The three 6-4-3 double plays, Ricks to Moye to Lowe, were a big contributor to the win. The Indian defense did not commit any errors in the game.

The Indian offense struggled getting only five hits but they had just enough to gain the win. Kaleb Bennett was the only player to get more than one hit, as he was 2-3, scoring one run and getting two RBI's. Cason Banks was on base four times again and scored two runs.

Bennett slapped his first RBI single. After a strikeout, Lowe lined a single to right, loading the bases. Whited hit a ground ball out driving in run number two. However, the Bears came right back in the bottom half using a hit batter, three hits and a walk to plate three runs and forcing a pitching change with one out and two on base. McDonald came in and coaxed a ground ball double play 6-4-3 to end the inning. That left the Bears with a 3-2 lead after one complete.

In the top of the 2nd inning the Indians added three more runs. Norfleet got a one out single and Banks walked. After a strikeout, Bennett got his second RBI single to left driving in Norfleet, and when the left fielder made a bad throw to the plate, Banks was also able to score. Bennett had kept running and slid into third, knocking the ball out of the fielder's glove and then scrambled home with the third run of the inning, putting the Indians back on top 5-3. In the bottom half the Bears lead off batter singled, but again McDonald coaxed a ground ball to Ricks for the second 6-4-3 and then got a ground ball to himself for the third out, leaving the Indians on top 5-3 after two complete.

Neither team was able to muster enough offense to score over the next four innings. In the top of the 7th inning the Indians got a base runner but couldn't score an insurance run, leaving the Bears to bat in the bottom half with the game on the line. The Bears got a one out single bringing the tying run to the plate. For the third time McDonald coaxed a ground ball to Ricks for the 6-4-3 double play to give the Indians a 5-3 win and a chance to play in the first round of the State Playoffs.

VHS played against Thomson, the #1 team out of Region 4AA, in the first round of the State Playoffs in a best-ofthree series. They played a double header on Monday of this week and swept them. Article also in this week's issue of The Advance.

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