Natchez wins late, Vikings look like new team

Published 12:25 am Sunday, March 22, 2009

NATCHEZ — A big seventh inning proved to be the difference for the Natchez High baseball team Saturday as the Bulldogs defeated Hollandale Simmons 7-5.

Keenan McAllister and Alfred Banks both went 2-for-4 at the plate, including a single in the bottom of the seventh to rally for the win.

With Natchez down 5-4, three Bulldogs walked to load the bases, and Natchez scored a run on a pass ball.

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Banks then came up big with a single to score the next two runs and win the game.

“It was time that we get some timely hitting,” Natchez coach Charlie Williams said. “That hit came just in time. I was proud of the way my kids fought today. They didn’t give up.”

Melvin Davis started the game on the mound for the Bulldogs, holding Simmons scoreless through two innings.

But he gave up three runs in the third inning and another in the fourth, so Williams brought in Javon Washington for the final three frames.

“Melvin pitched a good game, but we had a couple base-running mistakes and a couple errors that caused us to get behind early,” Williams said. “He pitched well enough to win a game, but Javon came in and did a masterful job as usual and got the win.”

Natchez will host Terry High (4-0) on Tuesday in a District matchup.

Williams said if the Bulldogs play like they did Saturday, it should be a good game.

“They played with a lot of confidence today, something we are really going to need going down into the stretch of the season. We’re going to have to make a good showing.”

Vidalia 5, Franklin Parish 3

Vidalia — In a stark contrast to their previous two games, the Vikings put together a solid offense and defensive game in the final day of the Vidalia Invitational.

Trey Lillie came off second base for his start on the mound, and coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said he will definitely use him again.

“We’re so short on pitchers, and this was our third game in three days, but he stepped in and did a great job,” Hoffpauir said. “We were pitching him out of necessity, and he pitched all seven innings.”

Lillie threw 78 pitches in the game, and Hoffpauir said they were mostly strikes. He didn’t walk a single batter.

“He was throwing strikes, and in high school if you throw strikes you can win any game.”

The Vikings lost their last two games 9-4 and 13-0, games Hoffpauir called the low point of the team’s season.

But he said Saturday’s win was like an entirely different team.

“It was a whole different turnaround from the last two nights,” he said. “Our kids played with a lot of intensity. We showed a lot of things that looked like old Vidalia.”

Jake Deweese hit a two-out double to score two runs in the sixth inning, and Ben Parnham and an RBI double as well.

Deweese finished with two doubles for the night, and John Brixey had two hits.

Vidalia started two freshmen Saturday because B.J. Neely and Mason Ozburn were both out with the flu.

“We played some good defense and had some good, solid pitching,” Hoffpauir said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win, and we completed a ball game. We went from the ultimate low, and they turned in a quality game tonight.”

The Vikings start District 3-3A play Monday against Bunkie. Junior varsity plays at 4 p.m., followed by varsity at 6 p.m.