Americans answer Nationals’ big inning with own, take city sweep

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The new teammates, new jerseys and new coaches may have just thrown the Natchez Americans off a little bit.

That’s when they realized something &045; sure, all that has changed, but it’s still baseball.

What was a four-run deficit in the first inning got shook off and converted into a 29-11 Americans win to take a sweep of the Natchez Nationals in the best-of-three city Natchez Dixie Youth Coach Pitch All-Star Championship Saturday at Duncan Park.

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The Americans won the first game 10-5. Both teams will participate in the sub-district tournament beginning Thursday at Summit.

&uot;The first game we had the jitters,&uot; Americans head coach Billy Ray Farmer said. &uot;You’re putting all these players on the team trying to mesh them together, and you don’t have a lot of time. We changed our lineup. The second game they jumped on us, but we called timeout and said, ‘Guys, let’s play our game.’ And that’s what they did.&uot;

The Americans hammered out the 29 runs thanks to productivity from the entire lineup and used some key defensive plays to hold off the Nationals after the first inning.

The Nationals exploded for eight runs in the first inning but scored three in the final five innings to come up short.

&uot;It seemed like every time we hit the ball hard it was hit right to them,&uot; Nationals head coach Ruffin Cross said. &uot;It seemed like we didn’t get the breaks we should have gotten, but we’ve got a good group of kids and a good group of parents. I think we’ve got a good team. With a little practice and a little hard work, we’re looking forward to the summer.&uot;

The Nationals had plenty of momentum after that first inning before the Americans answered with nine in the second to take a 13-8 lead heading into the bottom of the second. The Americans sent the maximum 13 batters to the plate in that inning, and Donovan Logan had a two-run homer right for a 9-8 lead after Colton Farmer singled home John Gray and Turner Janette.

The Americans didn’t let up any in their next at-bat. Logan singled home one run, but Austin Walker followed with a three-run homer for an 18-8 lead. Ryan Nettles came up after Walker with another home run.

For the day Logan had two homers, two triples and two singles.

&uot;Our strategy worked pretty well,&uot; Farmer said. &uot;We’ve got a group of guys hitting in front of Donovan, and a lot of times when he came up we had runners on. That worked out pretty well. And we’ve got guys hitting behind Donovan. Austin Walker had a big hit.&uot;

The Americans followed with four in the fourth, two in the fifth and four in the sixth to take a 29-10 lead heading into the Nationals’ last at-bat.

The Nationals made their noise in the first inning as Taylor Buckles singled in two runs before Colton Webb posted a three-run homer to score Chamberlaine Graves and Thomas Garrity for the 8-4 lead.

They added two more in the thrid when Chapman Sharp and Brandon Ross scored. Ross tripled in the sixth and scored on Garrity’s groundout.

&uot;We’ve got some good hitters, but we’ve got to work on it,&uot; Cross said. &uot;We don’t have much time.&uot;

The Nationals had other opportunities to score but were thwarted thanks to some key defensive plays from the Americans. Rudy Timm flied out to Garrett Rehms in left, who fired to first base for a double play in the fourth inning.

Logan caught a flyout in the fifth and stepped on second for an unassisted double play to end the inning.

&uot;Garrett Rehms made a good catch, and we made some double plays,&uot; Farmer said. &uot;We’re ready to go to Summit.&uot;