Coach Pitch All-Stars win State

Published 12:22 am Sunday, July 22, 2007

MAGEE —The 2007 Natchez 8-year-old All-Star Team did what no previous team in this age group had done before — win the state championship.

The Natchez All-Stars scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning as they rallied from a 4-2 deficit to defeat Yazoo City Saturday afternoon and win the Mississippi 8-year-olds Coach Pitch State Championship.

“It’s a heck of a feat. Undefeated,” Natchez head coach Gary Farmer said. “They were jumping up and down everywhere. It’s great to win the championship. But it’s kind of sad it’s over — being around these kids every day.

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Natchez went undefeated to win both the South Regional and State championships. And they did so with timely hitting and solid defense.

Natchez scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Christian Day singled to right field and scored when Craig Bradley hit a stand-up triple to the fence in left centerfield. Dalvion Jackson then singled to bring in Bradley.

The defense was put to the test after Yazoo City scored four runs in the top of the second inning. Yazoo City hit three singles in a row to load the bases and an error to left field brought in all three runs. An RBI single gave the visiting team a 4-2 lead.

“Yazoo City didn’t score again even though they had the bases loaded twice and had four hits in the final four innings,” Farmer said. “Natchez’s defense toughened up and shut them down.”

Natchez took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the third inning. Jacob Jenkins reached on an error. Daniel Garrity hit an infield single, but Jenkins was called out for running out of the baseline.

Then Day singled and Bradley brought in Garrity and Day with a triple to right centerfield to tie the game at 4-4. Jackson’s second single of the game scored Bradley to give Natchez a 5-4 lead. Gage Dossett then hit his second single of the game, but once again was left stranded.

An inning later, Reed White singled to right field and Jace Calcote singled to move White to second. Jenkins singled to right centerfield to bring in White and Natchez had a 6-4 lead.

It was up to Natchez’s defense to preserve the lead in the final two innings, and it came up big with two double plays. The first occurred in the top of the fifth, when Jenkins snagged a ground ball and threw it to Bradley for the first out and Day stretched out to receive the throw at first from Bradley for the second out.

The second double play Natchez turned, in the top of the sixth, turned out to be even more important. That’s because with two outs, Yazoo City loaded the bases on two hits and an error. The final batter for Yazoo City hit a ground ball between first and second, but Day got a hold of it and threw to second for the force out to end the game and the celebration was on as Natchez was crowned state champion.

“We had a great group of dedicated coaches and a great group of kids and a great group of parents who supported us,” Farmer said.