Petal hands Natchez 13s first loss at state; three teams remain

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 5, 2005

GREENVILLE &045; In the last two games Natchez was involved in at the Mississippi Dixie Boys 13-year-old state tournament, Natchez rallied in the bottom of the sixth inning to first defeat Wayne County on Sunday and then East Central on Monday.

On Tuesday night, the tables were turned as Petal used a six-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning to erase a 6-2 deficit and scored the winning run in the bottom of the sixth for a stunning 9-8 win to give Natchez its first loss of the tournament.

&uot;Looks like they looked past Petal,&uot; Natchez head coach Mike Lazarus said. &uot;Maybe a little overconfident.&uot;

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After Natchez had tied the game at 8-8 with two runs in the top of the sixth inning, Petal scored the winning run on a walk, two stolen bases and an RBI fly ball out to centerfield.

Petal somehow won the game despite having just five hits while Natchez had 14 hits.

Now Natchez plays Petal again today at 4 p.m. while Wayne County, which defeated East Central 13-0 earlier in the day, received a bye and awaits the winner 30 minutes after the completion of that game.

Natchez jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a 2-run home run by R.J. Fleming in the top of the first.

&uot;The first inning we could’ve put them away, but we didn’t,&uot; Lazarus said. &uot;We had a runner thrown out at home.&uot;

Petal scored one run in the bottom of the first and another run in the bottom of the third to tie the game at 2-2.

Natchez then scored two runs in the top of the fourth as Hunter Russ singled, Kent King doubled, Audie Crosby singled to score Russ and Cole Mann singled in Russ.

Natchez added two more runs in the top of the fifth as Rudy Lazarus singled, Colin Dollar singled, a balk moved the runners to second and third, and Kent Calvitt brought both runners in on a ground ball that the shortstop couldn’t handle.

&uot;We were hitting the ball hard,&uot; coach Lazarus said. &uot;We were ready to score some more runs.&uot;

Natchez pitcher Aaron White allowed just two runs in the first four innings.

&uot;Aaron was going great,&uot; Lazarus said. &uot;He was hitting his spots.&uot;

But just as Natchez appeared to have the momentum on its side, Petal used its big six-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to take that momentum away.

&uot;White was getting the pitches up,&uot; Lazarus said. &uot;They were getting timely hits. We made a couple of errors that would’ve got us out of the inning.&uot;

Petal had already scored one run to cut the lead to 6-3 and had two runners on base when D. Caldwell hit a fastball by White out of the park for a three-run home run to tie the game at 6-6. Petal added two more runs to take its first lead of the game at 8-6.

&uot;We went lax in the field,&uot; Lazarus said. &uot;It was a slugfest. We were celebrating too early.&uot;

With two outs in that frame, Lazarus brought in Dollar hoping to stop Petal’s rally and give Natchez a chance to win the game.

Natchez tied the game at 8-8 as Crosby singled and White walked. Rudy Lazarus grounded out to score Crosby and White stole home on a passed ball.