Generals' Vidrine has a Texas state of mind
Aug. 2, 2012 at 3:02 a.m.
Jude Vidrine spent last summer playing home games more than 1,600 miles from his native city of Nederland.
This year, he's enjoying the comforts of his home state and helping the Victoria Generals on another playoff push.
"There's nothing better than a bunch of Texas folks," Vidrine said.
In his first 40 appearances for the Generals, the Lamar junior outfielder is hitting .308 with 22 RBIs and four home runs.
After playing last summer for the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League based in New York, Vidrine has been enjoying the comforts of the Lone Star State.
He's second on the team in RBIs and hits and is tied for the team lead in home runs.
Victoria coach Chris Clemons was surprised at Vidrine's power.
"He does a lot of things that make you want to have him on your team," Clemons said.
Although Generals fans saw Vidrine's ability to hit the ball during the first half of the regular season, he put on another showcase during the Texas Collegiate League's All-Star Game on July 9 at Riverside Stadium.
Vidrine earned the game's MVP award after hitting two homers and going 3 for 4 from the plate.
During his sophomore season at Lamar last spring, Vidrine hit .271 with 15 RBIs and four home runs.
Vidrine's reputation preceded him for some of his Generals teammates thanks to his play at Lamar.
This past season, he hit three home runs against Texas State and catcher Andrew Stumph.
"It's good to have him on the same team so you don't have to watch him do that to you again," Stumph said.
Vidrine said the TCL not only gave him a chance to come back to Texas, but also it creates an interesting dynamic since he's playing alongside players that were on conference or regional rival teams during the NCAA season.
"It gives you something to look forward to when you see Texas State or UTSA," Vidrine said. "It makes you look forward to going to play those guys because you have a relationship with them."
Vidrine, like many of the other Generals, grew up playing the game and was a three-year letterman at Nederland High.
Vidrine said his favorite thing about baseball was the competition and the mental part of the game.
"It's a one-on-one competition between hitter and batter, but then it's a team competition," Vidrine said. "There's no game like it. You have your one-on-one battles and then you have your complete team battle."
Clemons added that Vidrine is a team leader. Although his numbers have dipped since a hot start to the season, the coach said the grind of the TCL schedule contributed to this.
Clemons said Vidrine's ability to shape off a bad game at the plate and avoid a slump has been a help to the team.
"Jude is a great kid with a great work ethic," Clemons said. "There are some things that he gets messed up in his swing every now and then, but he's good about working and trying to get through it."
Before heading back to Beaumont for school in the fall, Vidrine said he still wanted to work on developing more power from the plate.
Until then, his short term goal is to get the Generals back on track and build some momentum before the TCL playoffs begin on Aug. 12.
Entering Friday, Victoria is in a second-half slide, losing 11 of 15 games and falling to an overall record of 28-22.
"We need to get this team going in the right direction when the playoffs come around so we can make a run at the championship," Vidrine said.