Natchez 14-year-olds cruise to district title

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 13, 2000

Was there ever any doubt?

The Natchez Dixie Boys 14-year old All-Stars continued their domination of the district tournament being played at Liberty Park, finishing unbeaten in the tournament Thursday 19-1 rout of Brookhaven.

&uot;I&160;just can’t say enough about how proud I&160;am of these kids,&uot;&160;head coach Willie Riley said.

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&uot;All these boys know how to play and know when to play, and that’s the best part about my job.&uot;

After scoring only one run in the first inning, Natchez exploded for seven runs in the second, highlighted by a grand slam home run by Te Riley.

Michael Blain, who went 4-for-4 in the game, added a home run later in the inning to help the Natchez cause, and make the score 8-0.

&uot;Everybody did such a good job tonight, and this just shows me that we are ready for the state tournament,&uot;&160;Riley said.

Natchez matched their second inning run total with another seven runs in the third inning.

John Holleman led off the inning with a single, and he came around to score on a Mitchell Nerren single.

Garrett Jones had an RBI-double, and Blain, Holleman and Douglas Davis also had RBI-singles in the inning, to put the home team up 15-0.

&uot;Everybody came out to play tonight, and I’m just glad everyone got to see some playing time tonight,&uot;&160;Riley said. &uot;Everyone knows their role. None of the starters complained when I&160;pulled them out of the game.&uot;

Natchez pushed across four more runs in the fourth inning.

Te Riley ripped a one out RBI-single and Blain had a two-run double, which put the Natchez team ahead 19-0.

Allowing only two hits through the first three innings, Natchez starting pitcher Luke Ogden gave up a gopher ball to David Cuevas to end his shutout bid.

&uot;I’m just so proud of the way everyone played throughout this tournament,&uot;&160;Riley said.

&uot;Also, my coaches did a great job in getting the most out of every single one of these players. They deserve a lot of credit.&uot;

Ogden allowed only three hits, and faced two batters over the minimum. He also struck out 11.

Natchez’s all-star team will now go on to play in the state tournament, which will begin in Summit on July 22.