Natchez 13s blast Lawrence

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 26, 2003

HATTIESBURG &045; When the alarm clock sounded much, much earlier than usual, things could go wrong.

But all went well as the Natchez 13-year-old Dixie Boys All-Stars got to the park at 8 a.m., loosened up, got ready and came away with an 11-1 thumping of Lawrence County in five innings Saturday to open the state tournament at Hattiesburg. Ryan Ratcliff and Joseph McDonough combined on a one-hitter.

Natchez will face Laurel, a 12-3 winner over Washington County, at 5:30 p.m. today.

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&uot;That was one of my main concerns,&uot; Natchez head coach William Barnes said of the 10 a.m. start. &uot;A lot of these guys &045; their clocks are set to be sleeping until 11 or 12 o’clock. We got up there about 8 o’clock and got loose, and they were ready to go. I think they came focused and ready to play ball. We ran the bases hard and made plays.&uot;

The team set the tone early with an eight-run first inning on Lawrence County starter Devan Ard thanks to a just about every plus possible to take control of the game.

Luke Brumfield led off with a double, went to third when Jesse Morrison reached base on an error and Matt Barnes walked to load the bases. Dustin Carroll was hit by a pitch to score Brumfield, and Kendal Logan walked to score Morrison for a 2-0 lead.

Duncan Guedon reached on an error to score two runs, and Ryan Ratcliff’s fielder’s choice scored two runs for a 6-0 lead. Braxton Fondren singled home two more runs for the 8-0 lead.

&uot;It’s tough when you don’t know your opponent at all,&uot; William Barnes said. &uot;That’s what I told the boys &045; take a few pitches, size him up and go from there. We were real disciplined at the plate.&uot;

Lawrence County scored its run in the fifth when Braxton Fondren snagged a grounder up the middle but couldn’t get the throw to first in time for what would have been the third out of the inning.

C. Smith doubled and scored on the play for Lawrence County, but McDonough got Corey Jones to strike out right after that to end the game.

&uot;It was an eyelash from throwing a shutout,&uot; Barnes said.