Natchez advances to state

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 14, 2001

Natchez All-Star David Trisler had one simple mission when he entered Natchez and Summit’s championship game with men at second and third and no outs in the fifth inning of an 8-7 contest that Natchez was leading.

&uot;I just wanted to throw strikes and let my defense work,&uot; said Trisler.

His defense could have taken a knee in the field. That’s because Trisler struck out three straight Summit batters to end the threat and secure Natchez’s 8-7 lead. Natchez went on the score two runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh to win the game 11-7 and advance to the state tournament in Koscuisko next weekend. Natchez’s first game will be at 5 p.m. versus an undetermined opponent.

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Coach Joe Eidt said Trisler’s performance in the fifth was the turning point of the game.

&uot;That was it. You can talk about the offensive side of it all you want,&uot; said Eidt. &uot;That kind of pitching, you’ve got to have to win.&uot;

Trisler didn’t stop in the fifth. He retired the side in the sixth and seventh, walking one batter but getting him out via a double play. He ended the game in fitting fashion, striking out the last batter.

It was the third game in five days between the squads. Summit won the first game on Monday, 9-6, and Natchez topped Summit on Wednesday, 4-0. And this one shaped up to be an even better one than those two.

Summit tallied two runs in the first inning on a home run by Dustin Simmons to straightaway center field. Natchez grabbed the lead in the third frame due to lackadaisical defense by Summit. Jeremy Davis lined a shot to left field, but Craig Dickerson dropped the ball, allowing Jaime Morris to score from third and Dustin Case to go to second.

Drew Burnes then blooped a single to left-center. With the bases loaded, Chris Rasco dribbled a ball to third baseman Jud Honea. Honea throw to the plate went to the backstop, allowing Case and Davis to touch home and give Natchez a 3-2 lead.

But Simmons struck again for Summit. He clobbered a delivery to left-center for a three-run homer and a 5-3 Summit advantage.

Joey Wilson led off the fourth with a walk. And with one out, Andrew Ellard grounded to the shortstop for a possible double play.

But Wilson came in with a hard slide at second and the second baseman never thought about getting off a throw. That proved crucial on the next pitch to Dustin Case. Case smacked a two-run homer to left to tie the game, 5-5.

Wilson’s play was indicative of the little things that Natchez did most of the night: a sacrifice fly, throwing to the right bases and stealing bases.

&uot;The few little things we did tonight seemed to work,&uot; Eidt said.

Natchez broke open the game in the fifth, scoring three runs. Trisler hit a two-run homer and Wilson followed that with a solo shot, giving Natchez an 8-5 lead. After Summit cut it to 8-7, Ellard sliced a two-run double to right field to give his team a comfortable 10-7 lead.

Burnes added a sacrifice fly in the seventh to make it 11-7.

The state tournament begins July 21, and will continue through the week. Natchez went to the tourney last year, taking second place. This year, it’s back for the title.

&uot;We’ve been here before. The kids know what’s ahead of us,&uot; Eidt said. &uot;And that’s to our advantage.&uot;