NHS’ early struggles cost Bulldogs game

Published 12:03am Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School head coach Brian Kossum said the scoreboard didn’t reflect his team’s performance Tuesday as the Bulldogs (0-5) gave up 11 hits to lose 17-2 in four innings to Brookhaven High School.

Brookhaven scored 11 runs in the first inning, which set the tone and ultimately made the difference in the game.

Shavoke Harrington pitched during the first inning for the Bulldogs, and it wasn’t the start the eighth-grader was looking for.

Down 11-0 in the top of the first inning, Kossum made the decision to pull Herrington and give Jeremy Myles some time at the mound and put Herrington in the outfield.

“I don’t think we made too many errors, but sometimes the ball finds the gaps,” Kossum said. “It was their night in the first inning. (I took Herrington out) to protect my young guy. He’s an outstanding player, but he’s an eighth grader. You have to find that medium between getting reps and when it’s been enough.”

Herrington made up for a bad-pitching night with a leaping catch in the outfield to give the Panthers their second out. Myles then struck out the next batter to finally end a gruesome top of the first inning.

Kossum said Herrington’s defensive play showed his resilience.

“Every day he wants to show he’s the best player on the field,” Kossum said. “I don’t look at him as a young guy, I look at him as a leader.”

The Bulldogs came back with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, but it wasn’t nearly enough to fill the gap.

Herrington scored on Jarrell Morris’ sacrifice ball, and Lee Jackson scored on a passed ball to make the score 11-2.

The Bulldogs held Brookhaven scoreless in the top of the second inning, but couldn’t close in on Brookhaven with any hits in the bottom of the second.

From there, the Panthers finished the game with six more runs, one in the third inning and five runs in the fourth inning.

It seemed like Brookhaven kept the bases loaded in the top of the fourth, and with the Panthers’ bats hot all night, it gave them ample opportunity to pull away for the win.

Kossum said despite the score, he is proud of his team’s improvements from last season.

“It hasn’t showed on the scoreboard, but we’re swinging the bats well,” he said, “We’re not striking out as much.”

Natchez High will turn around and play at Brookhaven again at 7 p.m. Friday.