One that got away comes up big as Central Private wins

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Don’t think things got a little jittery for Central Private coach Kyle Achord in the seventh inning Saturday.

He was like that from the start.

Adams County Christian School cut a six-run lead down to one in its last at-bat Saturday, but Central Private hung on for an 8-7 win to claim the three-game sweep over ACCS in the District 2-AAA opener for both teams.

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&uot;Any time in this park I don’t think there’s enough runs to feel safe,&uot; Achord said. &uot;It was 6-2, and I didn’t feel good. You’re just one swing of the bat away. I felt good about ourselves jumping out 3-0 in district. Coach (Gill) Morris has a good young team. They’ve got a bright future ahead of them. In an eight-team conference, this thing is a long way from being over.&uot;

While Achord was nervous, Morris couldn’t help but kick himself after it was all over. Ray Simpson’s three-run homer in the seventh &045; his second on the day &045; cut the lead to one, but it was a play in the sixth that haunted Morris after it was over.

ACCS got David Alton New to third with one out before a pitch rolled away from Central Private catcher Kevin McChristian. Morris opted to hold New at third, and Caleb Walker later grounded into a double play to end the inning.

So when the difference on the scoreboard at the end was one run, Morris took the fall.

&uot;This one was on me,&uot; he said. &uot;We should have scored on the passed ball. It bounced off him and rolled away &045; not far enough for us to score, but he couldn’t find it. I could’ve sent him, and we’ve got a tie ball game. This was on me. The double play they turn in the sixth was really huge. We should still be playing right now.&uot;

The situation would have not been that significant had Simpson not clobbered a three-run shot over the left field fence with two outs in the seventh. Cole Bradford singled Jamie Morris to second with two outs off reliever Darryl Shaffer, and Simpson followed with his second homer on the day.

Shaffer, however, retired New right after that to end the game. He ended the game in relief of Travis Brown, who threw 5 1/3 before surrendering four runs.

&uot;This was his first start of the season, and we were trying to keep him to about 70 or 80 pitches,&uot; Achord said. &uot;He did a good job for us. He had good command of his pitches, and he just got tired. Shaffer is a sophomore. He stepped in there, competed and kept battling.&uot;

The production for ACCS came after Brown held them scoreless in the middle innings to hold Central Private’s 6-2 lead. In the sixth Glenn Williams walked in Cole Bradford before Dustin Case singled in Simpson to cut the lead to 6-4.

Central Private, however, tacked on two runs in the top of the seventh off AC reliever Caleb Walker to insurance. Josh Williams and Mitchell DeSonier each run-scoring singles to score the two runs that eventually were the game-winners.

&uot;We started out kind of slow,&uot; Morris said. &uot;We had a few pop-ups early, and I can’t stand pop-ups. That’s a lazy at-bat. Ray got the big hit and got us back in the ball game. We’re playing a lot of young kids. These ninth-graders will have their day. Caleb Walker came in and did a real good job. They touched him up a little bit, but he did a real good job out there.&uot;

Central Private struck first in the second inning by putting up six runs while sending 11 men to the plate. ACCS starter Matt Parson was pulled after he failed to retire the first five batters in the second, including a Shaffer single that scored two runs.

Walker came in and got AC out of the inning.

&uot;We’ve struggled offensively to start the season off, but I felt we would have a breakout game,&uot; Achord said. &uot;The second inning was good for us. Then we hit a little lull. That might have had something to do with Caleb Walker. He threw well for them.&uot;

The start was the first at home for Parson and his second this season. ACCS got two in the second on Simpson’s first homer.