Rebel League beats Confederates when it counts

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; So the third time wasn’t the charm.

The fourth one was. And the fifth, well, had 10 times as much charm.

The Natchez Rebel League had lost to the Confederate three times in as many tries, but it came through Tuesday at the most opportune time in the sub-district finals. The Rebel League won the first game 11-4 before holding on a take a 12-6 win in Game 2 to win the title and advance to next week’s district tournament.

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Even with three losses to the Confederate League, you had to feel the Rebel League was getting closer and closer each time.

&uot;Other than that first game, we were in every one of them,&uot; Rebel League head coach Tom Middleton said. &uot;I didn’t feel like any breaks went our way. We just kept believing. But my hat goes off to that other team. They played outstanding baseball. They gave us everything we wanted up until the last out.&uot;

Just as it did Monday, the Rebel League did it with a big inning of small ball to take the lead, but this time the ball was so small batters often didn’t put the ball in play. The Rebel League took advantage of three bases-loaded walks to highlight a five-run fourth inning to take the lead.

Two of them came off Confederate starter Ryan Goddard before he exited for reliever Cory Emanuel, who walked one batter with the sacks packed before getting a strikeout to end the inning with the bases loaded.

&uot;I’ve got to give them credit,&uot; Confederate head coach Al Hall said. &uot;They came out hitting well and hit like we did a couple of games ago. I couldn’t find anybody to throw it by them. My hat’s off to them. I’m proud of the Rebel League, and I’ll watch them in the district tournament. That’s my hometown team.&uot;

Caleb Upton walked with the bases loaded to force home Shiloh Atkins and give the Rebel League a 3-2 lead. Christopher Perry then walked to force in Garrett Smith, and Daniel Guedon later walked off Emanuel for a 5-2 lead.

&uot;We hit it like we were supposed to hit it,&uot; Middleton said. &uot;We’ve told them since we’ve been together that when we hit the baseball we’ll be hard to beat. We’ve got great pitching and great defense. We’ve been missing that third ingredient, and they finally put it all together tonight.&uot;

The Confederate League was able to answer with a run off in the fourth and were on the verge of answering big time. A walk to Ryan Goddard loaded the bases with one out, but Rebel starter Tyler Morrison struck out the next two batters on six pitches to end the threat and get out of a huge jam.

Almost the same thing happened again in the fifth as the Confederate League loaded them up with one out. But two groundouts later the Rebel League got out of the inning unscathed again.

&uot;Tyler Morrison pitched a good game,&uot; Hall said. &uot;We couldn’t get anything to fall in, and nothing went our way. It seemed like every time they hit it it went into the gap somewhere.&uot;

In the fifth inning the Rebel League used a seven-run inning to blow it open. Garrett Smith singled home two runs with two outs, and Hunter Hatcher drove in two more with a single for a 9-2 lead.

A walk later to James Moffett loaded the bases, and Jamon Gray doubled to right &045; his only hit of the day &045; to score two more runs for a 12-3 lead.

&uot;That (fourth) inning was big,&uot; Middleton said. &uot;That might have been the turning point in the game. I can’t say enough about Tyler Morrison. He has thrown three outstanding games, and I can say the same thing about their left-handers. We came in tonight with a goal of we’ve got to try to get Ryan Goddard out of the game. We knew we had a chance if we got him off the mound.&uot;

The Confederate League got on the board first in the second inning and took a 2-0 lead. Ryan Goddard walked with one out and scored when Dylan Pressgrove doubled into the gap in left center for the first run.

Pressgrove later stole third and scored when the throw went over the third baseman’s head and into left field.

Rebel 11, Confederate 4

For the second straight night the Rebel League broke things open with a big inning, but this time there weren’t any mention of small ball.

Instead, it was the long ball that did it.

Christopher Perry launched a three-run homer as part of an eight-run third inning to key the Rebel League to the win over the Confederate League &045; its first in four tries so far this summer.

The Rebel League rallied to tie the score at 4-4 off Confederate left-hander Trevor Williams before Perry turned on the first pitch and deposited it over the left-field wall to drive in Hunter Hatcher and Caleb Upton for a 7-4 lead.

The damage wasn’t done, however, as James Moffett and Jamon Gray each scored on a Daniel Guedon single for a 9-4 lead. The inning ended with the Rebel League leaving the bases loaded on a groundout by Chase Kyzar &045; the 14th batter of the half inning.

The Confederate League struck first and took a 2-0 lead in the second when Daniel Dunaway and Ryan Goddard scored. The Rebel League got a run in the second when Moffett scored on a Tyler Morrison groundout.

The Confederate League then got two more in the third when Collin Hammons and Nicholas Partridge each came around to score.

Rebel League starter Hunter Hatcher went the distance and allowed just one hit in the final three innings. The Confederate League put runners on second and third in the fifth with two outs, but Hatcher struck out the next batter to end the inning.

Hatcher finished with five strikeouts and three walks.