Natchez rally falls short

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 13, 2001

After two and a half innings of play in their regular-season finale Friday, the Natchez Bulldogs had only one hit, trailed Vicksburg 13-0 and could have easily folded the tent.

That was not the case, however, as Gators were unable to 10-run rule the Bulldogs and held on for a 17-13 win at Chester Willis Field.

&uot;I didn’t expect them to give up,&uot; said Natchez head coach Michael Lindsey. &uot;These guys have a lot of character and they’re not going to give up.&uot;

Both teams combined for 27 hits – 15 by Vicksburg, 12 by Natchez – and also used a combined seven pitchers in the game.

&uot;We put in some guys who came into work. They played well, too,&uot; said Vicksburg head coach Jamie Creel. &uot;They expanded the lead at times.&uot;

Natchez starting pitcher Brian Kossum appeared on his way to retiring the side to start the game, striking out Justin Henry and getting a great over-the-shoulder catch by right-fielder Carl Hayes on a fly ball by J.J. Brown.

Gator designated hitter Mitchell Beauman hit a ground ball back to Kossum, who threw to first baseman Marques Kinds, who missed the throw and was charged with an error.

After a Ryan Grey single scored Beauman, Paul Gorney hit a towering shot over the right-field fence for a 3-0 Gator lead.

Vicksburg (22-6) expanded its lead to 4-0 in the second and appeared on its way to an easy win after scoring nine times and sending 14 batters to the plate in the top of the third for its 13-run lead.

Natchez (11-7) wouldn’t let that happen, however, scoring five runs of its own in the bottom of the third.

Lance Harveston had a two-run single, Hayes a two-run double and Kossum an RBI single.

The Gators led 16-6 after four and a half innings. Just when it appeared they were going to 10-run rule Natchez, the Bulldogs kept the game going with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth and outscored Vicksburg 7-1 in the last three innings, but it wasn’t enough.

&uot;Natchez has been on top of us the last two times and we had to come back and beat them,&uot; Creel said. &uot;So it was a role-reversal.&uot;

&uot;Our pitchers weren’t as sharp today,&uot; Lindsey said. &uot;Vicksburg hit the ball well, too.&uot;

Natchez plays at Pascagoula in the first-round of the Class 5A state playoffs in the first game of a best two-of-three series at 6 p.m. Thursday. The second game will be played at Chester Willis Field at 2 p.m. next Saturday.