Nationals, Americans open with split in coach pitch

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; Well this makes no sense.

There’s only one way to determine the better team, and that’s to play each other. The Natchez Americans and Natchez Nationals did that Tuesday in the opening night of their Coach Pitch City All-Star Championship, and the scores did everything but figure out which side is stronger.

The Americans won Game 1 17-2, and the Nationals took Game 2 23-8.

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And you felt dizzy?

There’s no telling what will happen in Game 3 at 7 p.m. today back at Sprague-Gousset Field before opening the sub-district tournament Thursday in Brookhaven.

&uot;They beat us 17-2 the first game, and we came back and did it to them &045; go figure,&uot; Nationals head coach Billy Ray Farmer said. &uot;I think it’s two very evenly matched teams. I think the first game we just &045; I don’t know. They got up quick on us, and we were just shocked. The same thing happened to them in the second game &045; we jumped on them. I think that’s what both teams need to work on &045; keeping your composure.&uot;

Count coaches, parents and everyone else in that, but how can you with momentum swings like this? Yet both games were won by the team that made the biggest statement early at the plate, and the team that didn’t had a tough night catching the breaks and finding the holes.

In the second game the Nationals scored six in the first and survived the Americans’ five-run second that tied it up to ring up seven runs in the second for a 13-6 lead.

Two innings later the 15-run rule after four innings kicked in when Kenneth Jordan scored from third on James Coley’s groundout after the Americans’ two runs in the top half forced the Nationals to bat again.

&uot;Their hitting came around in the second game,&uot; Americans head coach Ben Hewitt said. &uot;Our hitting came around in the first game, and it’s hard to keep a team pumped when they come out and beat them like that the first game. Their team wanted it bad because they got beat bad the first game. I’d rather have won that first game close.

&uot;Each team had two days of practice. It was like, what do we have to do to go to Brookhaven?&uot;

In the second game the Nationals brought the bats with a flurry of hits that may have topped the Americans in Game 1. Their biggest inning came in the third when they put up nine runs to take a 23-6 lead heading into the fourth.

The Nationals sent all 13 batters to the plate in that inning &045; All-Star rules don’t include the nine-batter limit per inning &045; with 13-hole hitter Jeremy Myles driving in two runs with a single to start the rally.

Landon Seyfarth highlighted the inning with a three-run homer, and Trey Fleming followed that with a double. Luke Thomas later doubled in Quinn Logan and Mark Iles to finish the scoring.

&uot;Our bats came alive in the second game, and that’s all there is to it,&uot; Farmer said. &uot;It’s hard to bounce back after getting beat by 15 runs, but they found a way to do it. It just seemed like we couldn’t catch a break (the first game). We’re just looking forward to a bragging rights game tomorrow night. It ought to be a good one.&uot;

Give the Americans for making steady contact the entire night, but in Game 2 the Nationals were solid in the field and didn’t allow a big inning after the second. In the third the Nationals threw out a runner at the plate when the ball came in from left field to Luke Thomas at first, who fired to Bradley Jones at the plate to get the third out of the inning.

Andrew Beesley had the game’s only putout from third base to start off the fourth inning.

&uot;This is my first year in All-Stars, and it’s all new to me,&uot; Hewitt said. &uot;And I’m going against a three-year veteran here. You know what I said after that first game? He was holding something back. The kids are working hard in 95-degree weather every day, and I figured they’d come out here and walk all over us.&uot;

The Americans got six in the second to tie the score thanks to a bottom half of the lineup that came up with five straight hits. Jacob Jenkins, Chisum Mardis, R.J. Givens and Kolbi Robinson each came up with infield singles that drove in a run to tie the score.

But the Nationals answered with seven in the bottom half with Fleming belting a two-run home run. Thomas came later with a two-run single.

&uot;That first game was like a practice for us,&uot; Farmer said. &uot;That second game we settled down &045; everybody but me &045; and we played ball.&uot;

In Game 1 the Americans led 13-0 after two and 17-0 after three. Givens had a home run in the second.