Natchez rally falls short in loss to WCHS

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 11, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The culmination of a frustrating run through division had a strong resemblance to how it started.

Natchez High played well at times but couldn’t put it all together.

The Bulldogs rallied for four runs in their last at-bat but came up short Friday in a 9-8 loss to Wayne County in the last division contest for both teams. It was the first win of the season for the War Eagles and a loss that the Bulldogs found a little hard to swallow.

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&uot;We just fell a little short,&uot; Natchez High head coach Charlie Williams said. &uot;Those kinds of things have been happening to us all year. We came up short at the end. Our problem this year is we didn’t have enough games. That’s our 12th game. We’re just now starting to play decent ball, and the season is over.&uot;

The Bulldogs (2-10, 1-6) got around on Wayne County reliever Justin Solomon finally in the seventh inning after they scored one run and had just one hit in the 3 2/3 innings before then.

Pinch-hitter DaMorris Merrick singled in Drew Kossum to cut the lead to 9-5, and Larry Brown’s triple in the gap brought home Charles Cothern and Merrick before the throw to third went wild and allowed Brown to score on an inside-the-park homer.

That cut the lead to 9-8, and the War Eagles went with left-hander Dylan Boyles in relief of Solomon. Boyles struck out Robin Blake and got Jason Hayes to pop out to second to end the game.

&uot;He (Solomon) doesn’t throw real hard, but he throws it where he wants it and keeps it down,&uot; WC head coach Mike Gavin said. &uot;He’s normally going to have a few good innings before they see him a little bit. They got on him, but he’s good at keeping hitters off balance. That’s the first game all year we’ve been able to use that setup.&uot;

The Bulldogs had a couple chances off Solomon but couldn’t get the key hit to start a rally in the fourth. Hayes walked to lead off the inning and scored on a Joe Hayes groundout, but Matt Henderson and Kossum were left stranded in scoring position as Jason Williamson struck out to end the inning.

Solomon then retired six straight over the next two innings while the War Eagles put four runs on the board for insurance.

&uot;He pitched against us up there, and we hit him pretty well there,&uot; Williams said. &uot;We should have hit him here, but we were just impatient. Since we hit him so well there, we took it for granted we would hit him. We lost a little concentration there at the end.&uot;

The War Eagles did their job at the plate and provided the support they needed to notch the first win. They held a 5-4 lead heading into the top of the fifth and two in the fifth and sixth off Henderson, including a two-run homer from Gordon Baygents in the fifth to almost dead center with Jonathan Stokley on base.

Then in the sixth Brandon Jordan singled in Dustin Freeman before Stokley scored on a fielder’s choice for a 9-4 lead.

&uot;For us, it was hitting tonight,&uot; Gavin said. &uot;That’s the first time we’ve come through with runners in scoring position all year.&uot;