By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg varsity baseball team had a solid season to remember, winning a district title for the first time since 2017 before being eliminated in the regional semi-final against Marshall. The season came down to a tight game against the Redhawks that could have gone either way.
The Bulldogs gave up a run early to Marshall, but pitcher Cole Gebben helped keep the game close with some solid pitching. In the fourth, Marshall scored again to make it 2-0, and the final run of the game. It briefly looked like Vicksburg might get something going in the fifth and sixth innings as Logan Cohrs, Drew Habel, and Parker Wilson all got on base. Unfortunately, they were left stranded.
Vicksburg played some solid defense towards the end of the game, particularly from Brendan Monroe, who picked off a base runner and struck out a few runners to keep the score close. In the end, the Bulldogs failed to get a runner on base in the seventh and were eliminated.
The week prior at Districts turned out much more favorably for the team as they defeated archrival Three Rivers 7-1 and then Harper Creek 11-1. In the finals, Harper Creek’s pitcher kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard for the first five innings before the bats came to life.
“They couldn’t get us out and we hit the ball all over the place,” Deal said. “Next thing you know, it’s 11-1 and we get a mercy in that district championship game against Harper Creek. Again, our pitching did a great job in both of those games defensively to make the plays, and to only give up one run in 13 innings, that was a great Saturday.”
Next season will be a little more challenging for the Bulldogs because they are losing most of their major sluggers. Senior Parker Wilson had over 40 RBIs, over 20 doubles, seven home runs, and a batting average of nearly .500 on the season.
“You can’t replace a guy like that,” Deal said.
Deal also noted Jacob Conklin’s .455 batting average and 37 RBIs, and Monroe’s .412 average as major factors to their success this year. He expects the team will be okay with the defensive players and pitching they have returning, but he expects they will have to get creative with the batting order a bit in 2022.
At the end of the day, it seems Deal and the team were happy they even had a season after losing 2020 to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Thanks to all the parents and the fans that have come out in support of the kids and got them to things, and taking care of all the things they needed,” Deal said. “This season, with all the COVID stuff at the beginning, they had to fight through a lot. So, my hat’s off to the players, to the families, and our school administration for allowing us to have this season and just to go with the ever-changing world that was the COVID baseball season.”
By Travis Smola