Natchez loses to Terry in blowout

Published 12:24 am Saturday, March 13, 2010

NATCHEZ — Already faced with a steep mountain to overcome, Natchez High School watched itself slip farther down the side of the bluff Friday night.

Trailing Terry 9-2 in the top of the sixth, the Bulldogs had a chance to hold off Terry for one inning and try to pick their way back. Terry had other ideas, however.

Natchez loaded the bases and struggled to record just one out, as Terry exploded for 11 runs in the top of the sixth. By the time the dust settled, and Natchez finally got out three, the Bulldogs found themselves down 20-2.

The Bulldogs failed to score in the bottom of the sixth, and the game was called after that due to the 10-run mercy rule.

“I’m proud of my boys for the way they played the first three or four innings,” Natchez coach Charlie Williams said. “Then, we made a couple of errors and went into the tank, and completely lost focus. We have to start playing a full seven innings, that’s the bottom line. We can’t lose focus.”

The Bulldog batters failed to tally one hit all evening, drawing just three walks and striking out 12 times. The only two runs Natchez scored came in the bottom of the fourth, when Johnny Hawkins and Javon Washington each crossed home plate on passed balls by Terry.

“I hope this was a learning experience for the kids,” Williams said. “I hope they take the approach Terry in this game. With two strikes, we try to kill the ball instead of choking up and putting it in play. That’s what Terry was doing.”

Terry starter Deshun Dixon was brilliant, going five innings and striking out 10.

“He’s one of the top pitchers in the state,” Williams said. “We knew what to expect, because we saw him last year, and had the same results against him.

“We should have taken a different approach by getting deeper into the box. If we did that, I think the results would have been different. We told them to get deeper in the box, but they seemed to want to go up there with a different plan than the coaches had.”

Terry scored one run in the first inning, but started to pull away in the top of the fourth. Ryan Smith scored on interference by Bulldogs third baseman Kenner McCallistor. Michael Manley then doubled in Wayne Johnson and Ben Jacob.

A.J. Baker singled, bringing in Dixon and Jacob, and Baker later scored on a fielder’s choice by Smith.

Williams said his players let some close calls at the plate get to their heads in the fourth inning.

“They let a call here and there get in the way,” he said. “We can’t let the officials get in our head, even if we don’t like the calls. There were just a couple that I think should’ve gone the other way, but it still wouldn’t have affected the outcome, because they came to play and did what they were supposed to do.”

Friday’s matchup marked the first district game for the Bulldogs (2-3, 0-1). They will play today at 1 p.m. against Ridgeland at home.