Bearcats sweep Natchez

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 17, 1999

The Natchez Lady Bulldogs had a familiar feeling Saturday after dropping two games to the Long Beach Lady Bearcats 7-4 and 9-7.

Losing in the first round high school softball playoffs isn’t new for Natchez. The Lady Bulldogs have made quick first round exits in the last 14 years, including the last three years at home.

In the first game Saturday, Long Beach jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead, which they did not relinquish en route to a 7-4 win.

Email newsletter signup

In game two, the The Bulldogs jumped on Long Beach in quick fashion. Shortstop Kelly Fuller hit a double and scored first in a three-run first inning.

Chrystal Sylvester scored a home run as the Lady Bulldogs built a 6-1 lead over Long Beach by the third inning.

But the wheels came off for Natchez in the fourth inning as Long Beach scored five runs in the fourth inning.

Rainne McPhate scored the final run in the Bulldogs’ season. The run gave Natchez a slim one-run lead .

The Lady Bearcats loaded the bases. With two outs, all hopes were pinned on Randi Pope, Long Beach’s light hitting utility player, had replaced the injured Tiffany Patton at second base.

Pope had yet to get a ball past the pitcher. Many of her at bats resulted in pop ups to the catcher.

Pope became the unlikely hero for Long Beach, hitting a game winning two-run single.

Pope figured prominently in the bottom of the seventh inning. With Long Beach needing only three outs for a playoff win, Pope recorded two of the three outs in the final inning.

&uot;We doubled our victory total with our two win today,&uot; Partridge said. &uot;The playoffs are a different season and right now we are 2-0. &uot;

Pope couldn’t even remember where her hit went but was glad to help the team.

&uot;I have a lucky necklace. I hold it all the time in the dugout and put it in my sock before the game,&uot; Pope said. &uot;I kept praying and asking God to let me get one hit. I got it.&uot;

A dejected Natchez coach Sue Johnson can only look to next season.

&uot;Attitude killed us today,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;We would get down on ourselves when we made fielding mistakes and then the bats would go silent. We are a young team and we have a good nucleus. We will be back and we will break this playoff hex.&uot;