Natchez advances to title contest

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2000

LAUREL — The Natchez Wallace Express continued steamrolling its way through the Dixie Youth 11-12 State Tournament with an 11-0 win over Yazoo City Wednesday.

Jeff Maher struck out 12 batters through five innings, two days after Timmy Foster struck out a state record 16 and one day after Corey Walker fanned 13.

&uot;Jeff pitched a great game,&uot; said Natchez coach David New Jr. &uot;He did what we needed him to do. He put us in great shape for (today) because we’ve got Timmy with seven innings left and Corey with five.&uot;

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Wednesday’s contest started two hours late because of earlier thunderstorms.

Unbeaten Natchez will face Laurel today at 6 p.m. in the championship contest. Natchez can clinch the title with a win. If Laurel wins the 6 p.m. contest, a final championship game will be played at 8 p.m.

&uot;We just have to go out and stay focused,&uot; New said. &uot;This team has done everything I’ve asked of them so far.&uot;

The winner of the tournament advances to the Dixie Youth World Series in Marshall, Texas, beginning Aug. 14.

Yazoo City loaded the bases in the first inning as Andrew Howell singled and advanced to second to lead off the inning before Maher struck out the next two batters.

Howell’s single was the only hit Yazoo City managed off of Maher.

Rick Stephens and Shane Ables walked before Maher got his third strikeout of the inning to end the threat.

Natchez scored two runs in its first at bat as Cole Bradford walked, advanced to second on a long flyout by David Alton New and stole third base. Maher walked and stole second and Timmy Foster followed with a groundout to shortstop to score Bradford.

Chris Seeger walked and Stevan Ridley reached on an error to score Maher.

&uot;We’ve become very disciplined at the plate,&uot; New said. &uot;A lot of pitchers have tried to pitch around us, but we haven’t been swinging at bad pitches. That’s really a key now.&uot;

Maher retired the side in order in the second, striking out two of the three batters he faced.

Maher struck out two of the three batters he faced in the third to register seven strikeouts through three innings.

Natchez added three runs in the third as Scott Pollard walked with one out and Cole Bradford singled. New and Maher were hit by pitches and Foster singled.&160;Seeger followed with a groundout to score New.

Jeremy Ellis led off the fourth inning with a single, Austin Weeks reached on an error and Scott Pollard walked.

Bradford cleared the bases with a single that bounded off the outfielder and went to the fence.

Maher doubled off relief pitcher Shane Ables and Foster ended the contest by the 10-run rule with a home run.