Natchez rallies in last at-bat to win opener

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 26, 2003

MAGEE &045; Just when you thought the Natchez Rebel League All-Stars might lose some of that magic, they did it again.

The joy ride through the summer just got more exciting as the Rebel League rallied for two runs in its last at-bat to take a 4-3 win over Magee in the opening round of the Minor League state tournament.

The win gives the Rebel League a bye and a today off while it waits to play its next game at 8 p.m. Monday.

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&uot;That’s a big one because that gives us (today) off,&uot; Rebel League head coach Tom Middleton said. &uot;We look good on that bracket where we’re sitting at right now. We’re sitting in the best spot of the bracket, in my opinion. Where we would have gone if we lost looks brutal.&uot;

Magee held a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth when the Rebel League got a break early to start a rally against Magee’s third pitcher of the game. Tyler Morrison led off with a single and eventually landed at third before Avery Middleton walked and stole second.

Shiloh Atkins’ infield single scored Morrison to tie it up, and Chase Kyzar’s grounder was shallow enough where Magee tried to gun down Middleton at the plate, but the catcher couldn’t hang on to the ball as Middleton scored.

Magee scored three runs in the first inning thanks to two Rebel League errors to take a 3-0 lead, and the Rebel League didn’t answer until the fourth inning when Sanders doubled, tagged on up a Kyzar flyout and scored

when the throw got past the third baseman.

In the fifth Hunter Hatcher bunted his way to first and scored when Christopher Perry doubled off the fence to cut the lead to 3-2.

Sanders went the distance on the mound and didn’t allow an earned run while striking out seven and walking two.

&uot;He threw an excellent game,&uot; Tom Middleton said. &uot;He pitched too fine a game to lose.&uot;