Natchez High takes first win of 2006 season

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; The Gatorade shower has never been a staple of high school softball, but the Natchez Lady Bulldogs didn&8217;t care Tuesday night.

It took two inside-the-park home runs and a stellar defensive performance, but the Lady Bulldogs topped the Vicksburg Missy Gators 4-0 for their first victory of the season.

&8220;It feels good to win one,&8221; said Natchez head coach Charlie Williams. &8220;I was worried that we might not, but it feels good to get that monkey off my back.&8221;

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Williams&8217; back was covered with ice cold water shortly after the game when the entire Natchez team chased him across the field before dousing him.

The Lady Bulldogs got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning when Tori Paxton singled and then scored on an inside-the-park home run by Kierra Jones.

That two-run lead held throughout the middle innings, despite several solid hits by Vicksburg due to solid defense by Natchez High &8212; something which hadn&8217;t been seen in previous outings.

&8220;At the beginning of the year I told them we don&8217;t have the type of team that&8217;s going to score a lot of runs, so we&8217;ve got to play flawless defense,&8221; Williams said. &8220;We only made two or three errors. I&8217;m exceptionally proud of them.&8221;

The Lady Bulldogs put the nail in the coffin with another inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the sixth by Jennifer Jackson, which scored Shaynna Bradley to give Natchez High a 4-0 lead.

Kenesha Jackson took the win at pitcher.

Williams said the team had really come alive in recent weeks.

&8220;They&8217;ve worked hard,&8221; he said. &8220;I think the addition of the new players really served as a wake-up call to the ones that were already here. We&8217;re doing better, but there are still a lot of mental mistakes to correct.&8221;

In other softball action:

WCCA 15, Trinity 3

WOODVILLE &8212; Despite having just five hits, the Wilkinson County Christian Academy Lady Rams took advantage of six hit batters and six walks to defeat the Trinity Episcopal Lady Saints 15-3 in four innings Tuesday night.

Spenser Rice led WCCA (10-14 3-1) at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a triple. The Lady Rams six runs in the bottom of the first inning, four in the bottom of the third and five in the bottom of the fourth to end the game.

Katie Steele had a triple to lead Trinity (0-6), which scored three runs in the top of the second inning. This is the first season the Lady Saints have fielded a fast-pitch softball team in the school&8217;s history.

WCCA will take on Huntington today at 4 p.m. at Centreville for the District 7-A title. Both teams finished at 3-1 in district.

&8220;We won the first game 11-5 at their place and they beat us 5-3 in eight innings at our place,&8221; Lady Rams head coach Ray Olive said. &8220;They weren&8217;t going on the difference in runs. Instead, they went by head-to-head. Centreville offered their field. Huntington wanted to play there. I think we&8217;re pretty evenly matched.&8221;

Franklin County 5, Richland 4

RICHLAND &8212; The Lady Bulldogs kept their Division 7-3A title hopes alive by scoring four runs in the top of the sixth inning and ending an attempted rally by the Lady Rangers in the bottom of the seventh.

&8220;This was a big win for us,&8221; Lady Bulldogs head coach Dana Smith said. &8220;They 10-run ruled us last year. We played like a team. It really sets us up. We have a good position in district.&8221;

In the top of the sixth, Taylor Stewart, Vanity Green and Destinee Dedeaux each singled to load the bases. Latonya Williams then singled to score Stewart. Melissa McFarland tied the game at 4-4 with a two-run double that brought in Green and Dedeaux. Karlee Mullins singled to bring home Williams with the go-ahead run.

Richland, however, wouldn&8217;t go away quietly, as the Lady Bulldogs found out in the bottom of the seventh.

&8220;They had two outs. We walked a batter and they had a base hit,&8221; Smith said. That base hit, a double, should have been the third out, but Monea Cameron couldn&8217;t field it.

&8220;They had runners at second and third,&8221; Smith said. &8220;Monica, their No. 4 hitter, hit a long fly ball and Morgan Knapp made the catch for the third out.

Franklin County (10-7,4-1) scored one run in the top of the third to tie the game at 1-1 before Richland, which upset Hazlehurst last week, scored one run in the bottom of the fourth and two in the bottom of the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.

Huntington-River Oaks called off

FERRIDAY &8212; The Huntington-River Oaks fast-pitch softball game scheduled for Tuesday afternoon was cancelled, but not because of any inclement weather.

Lady Hounds head coach Lionel Newman said the game was cancelled because of their game against the WCCA Lady Rams today at 4 p.m. at Centreville, which will determine the District 7-A championship after both teams finished in a tie in district play.

Patrick Jones

contributed to this story