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Despite blowout loss, NHS coach wishes for longer game

Terry High School starting pitcher Stephen Barnett, center, is congratulated by teammates after giving up no hits over four innings on Friday night during the Bulldogs' road game against Natchez High School. Terry defeated Natchez 12-0. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Terry High School starting pitcher Stephen Barnett, center, is congratulated by teammates after giving up no hits over four innings on Friday night during the Bulldogs’ road game against Natchez High School. Terry defeated Natchez 12-0. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — It wasn’t the 12-0 loss to Terry High School Friday night, the 10 strikeouts by his players or even the four errors that helped lead to that loss.

No, Natchez High School head coach Brian Kossum said the game only lasting four innings is what upset him.

After the hometown Bulldogs went down one-two-three in the bottom of the fourth inning, the umpiring crew called the game, citing the 12-runs-after-four mercy rule. But Kossum said he took exception to his team not getting one more chance in the fifth.

“The rule says 10 after five,” Kossum said. “The 12 after four, 15 after three, that’s mercy rule that you agree to before the game. I play 10 after five, and I wanted to play another inning.”

Kossum said he wanted to give his players as many innings as possible on the young season in order to help them improve. After protesting to the umpires, Kossum acquiesced, since his players were already lining up and saying “good game” to their Terry counterparts.

The game remained scoreless until the top of the third, when Terry touched NHS starter Derrian Johnson for eight runs, three of which scored because of errors by the hometown Bulldogs’ defense. Terry added four more runs in the top of the fourth, three of them earned and one scoring because of another fielding error.

“I thought we played pretty well for two innings,” Kossum said.

But similar to his team’s 14-0 loss at Terry Monday, Kossum said things were too far gone by the time the visiting Bulldogs jumped out to a big lead in the third.

“For us to come out and play well for a couple of innings, I was glad about that,” Kossum said. “Then, just like it did Monday, it got away from us quick. You can’t make mistakes and stay in the ball game against a team like that.”

NHS’s offense, meanwhile, was unable to get anything going against Terry starter Stephen Barnett. Barnett was perfect through four innings, and all but two of the hometown Bulldogs’ outs came via strikeout.

“They threw a lefthander, good velocity, good movement, drop a little curveball in there, and he just kept us off balance,” Kossum said of Barnett.

“We have stressed to these kids that they overswing, they pull everything out, and they have to be able to ‘see ball, hit ball,’ and we’re trying to simplify it for them. Overall, I can’t take anything away from their guy. He threw a great ball game, and we were just outmatched tonight.”

NHS dropped to 1-4 on the season, 0-2 in region play.

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