As a member of the LHSAA Class 2A All-Academic Baseball Team, Vidalia senior Brandon Bozeman has soaked up a lot of knowledge.
But nothing in a text book can compare to the lesson Bozeman learned as a member of the Viking baseball team when the season ended abruptly because of the coronavirus.
“No matter how good life is going, it can turn around at any second,” Bozeman said.
The Vidalia High pitcher/outfielder was just feeling as if he and his team was beginning to turn the corner after starting out 2-7 after having several games cancelled because of winter rain and cold.
The Vikings were only able to play one home game before the season came to an end. Vidalia was able to get in an 18-14 win over Adams County Christian School in Natchez on March 9. Bozeman doubled and had three singles and drew two walks in that contest.
“We kind of struggled a bit because of the lack of practice time and having a young team,” Bozeman said. “But I really felt like we were starting to come around. I felt good going into district play. When everything started drying up we were able to get in more time on the field and that really helped us. And then all this happened.”
The season was stopped before Vidalia’s home game with Cathedral on March 13.
“I still thought we would be able to play more games,” Bozeman said. “But after it all started getting worse I could see that it probably was not going to happen.”
The season was officially cancelled on April 9.
“It was like having everything swept right out from under you,” Bozeman said.
Bozeman was hitting .333 with a .471 on base percentage and saw a lot of time on the mound when not patrolling the outfield.
“Brandon was a hard worker and gave us everything he had,” said Vidalia baseball coach Mike Norris.
Bozeman was looking forward to his senior season after the Vikings went 15-11 last year, falling to Rosepine 12-9 in a Class 2A first round playoff contest.
“I wanted to play the best possible and put everything into it,” Bozeman said. “I wanted to be a good example for the underclassman and leave a good impression on them.”
Bozeman said he felt no extra pressure going into his senior season.
“The main thing I was concentrating on was making good grades,” he said. “I really wasn’t feeling any pressure or stress going into the season. I felt in control.”
Bozeman finished with a 3.5400 grade point average.
“I like pushing myself to bring out the best in myself to prove what I can do,” he said.
Bozeman pitched in three games last year, earning a win and two saves.
“I like coming in as a relief pitcher,” he said. “I perform better under pressure. My favorite part of baseball is being down, but making a comeback to win a game.”
Bozeman played in the outfield when not on the mound.
Bozeman admitted that is all still a bit surreal.
“Baseball has been my whole life,” he said. “I’ve been playing it ever since I could pick up a bat.”
Bozeman admitted he thinks about the state championship tournament would be down to the finals at this time.
“I do wonder how we would have ended up,” Bozeman said. “I wonder how far we could have gotten. I think we could have still been playing.”
Bozeman is enlisting in the Air Force.
“I’m mainly finishing up my dual enrollment classwork now,” he said. “I plan on leaving out around January for basic training in San Antonio. I’m joining the Air Force mainly for educational purposes. After basic training I will see what they have planned for me.”
Bozeman said playing baseball has helped him deal with adversity.
“It has really helped me be in control, be more disciplined and be more aware of my surroundings,” he said.
Bozeman said he will miss Vidalia High.
“Just the fact it’s so small, and it’s like family,” he said. “I’m going to miss the camaraderie with my teammates.”