VHS freshman Price silences Natchez High bats

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; On a bitterly cold Tuesday evening at Chester Willis Field, Vicksburg’s Stanton Price was red hot.

The Natchez offense couldn’t get anything done against Vicksburg and it cost the Bulldogs, who lost 17-2 in the Division 6-5A opener for Natchez (0-1, 4-7). Price, Vicksburg’s starting pitcher, threw a gem, allowing only three hits in six innings and striking out 15 batters.

&uot;He’s just a freshman, but he’s one of our best pitchers,&uot; Vicksburg head coach Jamie Creel said. &uot;He had command of all three pitches early in the game.&uot;

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Steven Price came in to close the game out and struck out another batter in the ninth, making it a total of 16 strikeouts in seven innings for the Bulldogs.

Together the Prices all but shut down the Natchez offense. Edward Johnson’s leadoff single was the only hit the team had in the first five innings.

Price struck out the side in the first, second, fourth and fifth innings.

Natchez’s first score game in the sixth inning, Desmond Smoot reached base on an infield single and was eventually brought home by

C.J. Wright’s double.

The Bulldogs scored again when Cameron Logan knocked home Ja-Mes Logan later in the inning.

&uot;You can’t win a ballgame with two hits,&uot; Natchez head coach Charlie Williams said. &uot;It was just an infield single and a double, really, and that’s not enough.&uot;

The lopsided score overshadowed a pretty good performance from Natchez pitcher C.J. Wright. Wright held the Gators (1-0, 7-2) to just three runs in the first four innings before he appeared to start tiring. He threw 132 pitches in 6 2/3 innings for the game.

Wright stayed in the game until Robert Perry relieved him with just one out to go. With the Gators up 17-2, Vicksburg’s Nathan Baylor intentionally got himself out to end the top of the seventh and speed up a game that lasted more than two and a half hours.

&uot;My pitcher didn’t do a bad job,&uot; Williams said. &uot;He just didn’t get the defensive support he needed.&uot;

Natchez was down just 3-0 at the end of the fourth inning when things really started to go wrong. The Gators’ Eric Coleman singled to open the fifth, stole second and then was brought home be Jordan Henry, who himself stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

Henry was eventually knocked in by Vernon Wolfe, who also used a wild pitch to move into scoring position before being driven in by Nathan Baylor.

In the sixth, it was more of the same. James Jackson, Henry and Steven Price all scored because of Natchez errors, pushing the score to 11-0.

&uot;They did a good job and took advantage of their opportunities,&uot; Williams said. &uot;They’d get a walk, then a hit batsman, then get a hit and we’d commit an error.&uot;

The Bulldogs’ outfield also had trouble in the game, allowing a couple fly balls to fall in and keeping Vicksburg’s innings alive late in the game when the Gators racked up some runs.

Vicksburg’s Jackson hit a fly ball to right center that fell between the Natchez outfielders and eventually led to him and Tanner Woodson scoring as part of a six-run seventh inning that put away the victory for the Gators.

&uot;I have to find somebody to catch fly balls,&uot; Williams said. &uot;Those were routine fly balls that we let drop. Defense hurt us tonight.&uot;

Creel said he was pleased with his team’s offense, though it didn’t much matter on this night.

&uot;We were a little sluggish early on, but we took advantage of a few opportunities later in the game, got a couple big hits and scored some runs,&uot; Creel said. &uot;Stanton did such a good job, it kind of overshadowed anything we did on offense.&uot;

Vicksburg’s defense had no errors, though the Gators didn’t have much to do given the Prices’ tendency to strike out Natchez batters.