Joe Garagiola once wrote a book called “Baseball is a Funny Game.”
Don’t try and send a copy to Vidalia baseball coach Mike Norris.
Especially after this season.
The Vikings started off having to cancel their first four games because rain.
By the time they played their first game on February 25, they had one practice on the field.
The Vikings were starting to get into a groove in mid-March when top pitcher Peyton Fort tore his ACL and MCL and was lost for the season.
I know one guy does not make a difference, but Fort is the kind of guy who makes a team go from contender to challenger when he is not able to play.
The Vikings entered their final series against Beekman at No. 19 in the Class 2A power rankings.
Scheduled games with Mangham and Peabody in the final week were rained out. Those games were very winnable and would have assured Vidalia of a home playoff game.
The Vikings lost their first game to Beekman, but came back with a thrilling 7-6 win and 15-3 win over the Tigers to jump up to No. 15.
Vidalia drew a good Rosepine team that had posted wins over Alexandria, Merryville, Vinton and Oakdale.
Rosepine showed they came to play very early Tuesday as lead-off hitter hit a ball over the left-center field fence.
The Eagles scored four runs in the first inning.
Vidalia answered with a run.
There were some bang-bang plays at first base with not one going Vidalia’s way.
Then in the bottom of the second, a Viking runner was in a rundown between first and second with two outs when the runner on third took off for home.
The runner appeared to touch home plate just before the runner between first and second was tagged.
What made things even more confusing was the fact the home plate umpire gave a safe signal, but was saying the run did not count.
Viking fans kept asking why the run was not being put on the board.
After it was clear the runner from third was ruled not to have touched the plate before the tag, Viking fans voiced their displeasure and Norris walked out to home plate and had a quick and subtle conversation with the umpire, knowing there was no way it would be overturned, but still making a point to show his disagreement.
The coup de grace may have come in the sixth inning when the Rosepine batter hit the ball straight back to Nick Melton on the mound with a runner on first base. Melton turned to throw the ball to second, but the infield umpire was in the way, and the ball bounced off his arm. No double play. Vidalia did get out of the inning not allowing more than the three runs after that.
Vidalia ended up losing the game 12-9.
Rosepine has a good team and they can hit the baseball.
No disrespect intended, but there’s no doubt in my mind they scored eight or more runs off of Peyton Fort.
Obviously that’s a moot point.
But it just kind of puts an exclamation point on the season.
The good news is that Fort should be back healthy next year, there are a number of young players who contributed this year, and some good talent coming up from the junior high.
The Viking pitching staff should be even better next year.
So barring rainouts, injuries or fluke plays, expect Vidalia baseball to be a contender next year.
And that’s no joke.