Natchez 9-year-olds roll

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, June 25, 2008

GLOSTER — For the second straight day at the sub-district tournament, Natchez’s 9-year-old All-Stars jumped out to an early big lead and never looked back.

After taking care of Summit 23-2 in four innings on Monday, a much closer game was expected Tuesday afternoon between Natchez and McComb. That didn’t happen as a 12-run third inning propelled Natchez to a 20-0 win over McComb in just four innings.

Natchez had 18 hits in the game — five fewer than it had against Summit — but that was made up for by several walks issued by McComb’s pitchers and four errors by the opposing team’s defense.

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“The team hit the ball really well. They came out stroking the ball in the first inning again. They weren’t bloop hits. They were hard hits like they were (Monday) night,” Natchez head coach Gary Farmer said. “We jumped on them early and backed it up with good pitching.”

Natchez scored seven runs in the top of the first inning for the second straight game. And just like Summit, McComb was not able to put a rally together to get back in the game.

Winning pitcher Craig Bradley and reliever Gabe Smith combined on a two-hit shutout. Bradley threw just 23 pitches in the first two innings.

“Craig came out in the first inning and only threw 17 pitches – 13 strikes and four balls, which is phenomenal for a 9-year-old. Second inning he threw six pitches,” Farmer said. “Gabe came in and threw strikes when he needed to and let the defense do the work. Craig’s a great pitcher for a 9-year-old.”

Farmer added that McComb wasn’t expecting to see that kind offense from Natchez early on in the game. Among the 18 hits, Dalvion Jackson had the team’s only triple while six hits went for doubles. Losing pitcher Stephen Holifield had a double for McComb.

“I didn’t know the kind of team McComb had. They expected a closer game,” Farmer said. “Hopefully, we’ll continue (playing like this) through the tournament.”

Natchez will take on Walthall at 8 p.m. today in a winner’s bracket game. This will be Walthall’s second game in the tournament after defeating Pine Hills on Monday.