Wayne claims state, but Natchez 13s in World Series

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 5, 2005

GREENVILLE &045; Total hours driving &045; six.

Total minutes of game played before leaving &045; 22.

Doesn’t make much sense at all, but the Natchez 13-year-old All-Stars drove back to Greenville Saturday to complete their suspended game with Wayne County in the state championship that a downpour put a stop to on Wednesday.

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The score was 16-8 in Wayne County’s favor before everyone got on the road, and the score didn’t budge after the final two innings were in the books.

But the biggest plus is Dixie Boys now takes the top two from each state to the World Series, scheduled to start Thursday at Muscle Shoals, Ala., with pool play.

&uot;The top two in each pool go to bracket play, and it’ll be hard for me to believe we can’t be in the top two teams in a pool,&uot; Natchez head coach Mike Lazarus said. &uot;But we’ll see. It’s the first time (this team) went to a state tournament. They’re some excited little boys.&uot;

Natchez, however, couldn’t pull the sweep of Wayne County after getting the win in the first meeting at the state tournament.

Wayne County built the eight-run lead thanks to an 11-run third inning, and on Saturday Natchez sent 12 men to the plate but couldn’t push a run across.

Natchez hit its inning limit with two pitchers Wednesday before the rains came, and the team was plagued by six errors. But it all came after surviving the first game 11-10 over Petal, leaving Natchez to come right back and play.

&uot;It was 107 degrees that day,&uot; Lazarus said. &uot;We played Petal, beat them and when we started playing Wayne County, we jumped on them quick. But my kids were just melting. The same pitchers who pitched the second game pitched the first game. It’s not their fault &045; they’re 13-year-old kids. When (Wayne County) drew the bye, they won the tournament.&uot;

Wayne County’s 11-run third broke the game open and put its lead at 12-2. DeMarcus Henderson came up with a triple to score the first two runs that inning and added a homer later.

In that inning Natchez pitchers Cole Mann and Colin Dollar walked three and hit a batter, and the defense had three errors.

Yet Natchez answered the best it could with four in the fourth and two more in the fifth. Kent King singled in the fourth before R.J. Fleming turned a shot off the fence into an inside-the-park home run.

Caleb Johnson hit a two-run homer in the first.