Natchez 10s eliminated at state

Published 12:28 am Tuesday, July 15, 2008

HATTIESBURG — After giving up eight runs in the second inning of a 9-6 loss to Petal Sunday afternoon, the Natchez Dixie Youth 10-year-olds All-Stars had to beat Pascagoula to keep their season going.

But just like against Petal, Natchez once again allowed the opposition to have a big inning and in the process lost to Pascagoula 15-3 for its second loss in the double-elimination South Regional Tournament.

But as Natchez coach Jeff Webb put it, it wasn’t the top of the sixth inning in which Pascagoula scored eight runs to put the game out of reach that was the difference in the game.

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“They had one big inning. The second inning they threw us into a funk and we never could come back after that,” Webb said.

Natchez appeared to be on its way to taking the momentum away from Pascagoula when it scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning for a 2-1 lead. That was until Pascagoula responded with four runs of its own in the top of the second and a 5-2 lead.

Winning pitcher James Pugh went all six innings and kept Natchez’s batters off-balanced throughout the game. Pugh gave up three runs on just four hits and struck out 11 batters. Christopher White lead Natchez at the plate by going 2-for-2.

“Their pitcher threw well,” Webb said. “He’s a big guy. A few of our players wondered if he was 10 years old. He was able to throw strikes. He was so tall, he was able to bring a different angle than we’re used to.”

Pugh walked six batters, but the defense behind him was very solid, committing no errors and ending any thoughts of a rally by Natchez.

Pascagoula had its way with Natchez’s pitching staff as it pounded out 15 hits in the game. Aaron McDaniel went 4-for-4 and Pugh was 3-for-4, including a solo home run in the top of the fifth as well as a double.

Webb felt like Natchez ran out of gas after trying to come back from an 8-1 deficit in it loss to Petal.

“We felt like we should have won (Sunday). They took it well and they’re going to get better. They’ll be ready for next year,” Webb said. “They had a good time. They played hard and stuck together. They rooted for each other. They won together and they lost together.

“A lot of people didn’t expect us to go this far. This is the first time they’ve been this far, to South Regional.”

9-year-old South Regional Tournament

Natchez 10, Copiah 3

HATTIESBURG — The Natchez Dixie Youth 9-year-olds All-Stars took on a familiar opponent at the South Regional Tournament in Copiah — the same team Natchez defeated to win the district championship.

And for the third time in the last week, Natchez was able to come out on top.

Natchez got some amazing consistency from everyone in the lineup in the victory.

Natchez had 11 hits in the game from 10 different batters — and all of them were singles.

Daniel Garrity was the only Natchez player to have multiple hits, as he was 2-for-2.

“That’s kind of weird,” Natchez coach Gary Farmer said. “We hit the ball when we needed to and got some timely hits.”

Natchez also got a good pitching performance from Craig Bradley, who pitched a complete game.

“Craig pitched a superb game against a very good Copiah team,” Farmer said. “When we got up 4-1 (in the third inning) I felt good that with our defense and Craig’s pitching we’d hold them off. I felt comfortable after we scored four runs.”

If four runs gave Farmer comfort, he would feel invincible in the next couple of innings, as Natchez piled on six more.

Natchez scored two runs in the top of the fifth to make the score 6-1. After Copiah battled back with two runs in the bottom of the inning, Natchez removed all doubt from the game with four more runs in the top of the sixth.

“People stepped up tonight,” Farmer said. “It was a good game by all, especially defensively.”

Natchez is the only undefeated team left in the tournament and will play at 8 p.m. today against Laurel, which has one loss. Should Natchez win, they would play in the championship game Wednesday at 6 p.m. against either Copiah or Petal, and would have to be beaten twice.