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Natchez 9s come back to advance to next round of tourney

NATCHEZ — The Natchez 9-year-old All-Stars were just two innings from elimination at the district tournament Thursday evening.

But they weren’t ready to end their season quite yet.

Natchez scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and then held Lincoln County Americans scoreless in the top of the sixth to post a 15-12 victory that moves them into the semifinals on Saturday.

“It was close the whole game,” Natchez coach David Lindsey said. “We’d go ahead, then they’d go ahead and then we would come back. We never gave up and the kids did an excellent job.”

After Natchez scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 10-7 lead, both teams scored a single tally in the fourth to make the score 11-8.

But the Lincoln County Americans broke through with four runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead.

However, Natchez came right back with four runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth.

A hit by pitch and two walks loaded the bases and P.J. Hargrave’s groundout scored the tying run.

Sawyer Allen then hit a hot shot that the second baseman bobbled which allowed the go-ahead run to score.

Andrew Merriett’s infield single plated another run and Hunter Carroll scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch.

Merriett and Hargrave were the big hitters on the night for Natchez, as each was 2-for-2.

After seeing Lincoln County Americans score four runs in the top of the fifth, the Natchez players were determined it wasn’t going to happen again.

Pitcher Ben Foster got three groundouts, all to first baseman Cedric Dunbar, to end the game and give Natchez the victory.

“Cedric isn’t even the regular first baseman,” Lindsey said. “Ben is the regular first baseman but he was pitching. Cedric stepped in and did a great job.”

For Natchez, the win was especially gratifying as it came on the heels of Wednesday’s 16-6 loss to Lincoln County Nationals.

“We never quit,” Lindsey said. “We came out tonight with good energy and just fought hard and never gave up.”

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