Birthday boy delivers for Natchez 12s

Published 12:21 am Tuesday, July 6, 2010

NATCHEZ — Instead of receiving presents on his 13th birthday, Edwin Byrne was the one doing the delivering as the Natchez 12-year-old All-Stars took on Summit in the finals of the South Sub-district Tournament.

Byrne hit two home runs in as many at-bats and had four runs batted in. And he pitched a no-hitter, struck out six batters and allowed just one batter to reach base as Natchez defeated Summit 13-0 in four innings Monday afternoon at Carroll-Jones Field

Not even a half-hour delay to the start of the game because of rain was going to dampen Byrne’s spirits. Especially with a berth in the district tournament on the line.

As for his two home runs, Byrne said, “I just got up to bat to get contact and get a single. They both went out.”

While his first home run of the game was a no-doubter — it went way over the fence in right field with one out in the bottom of the first inning — Byrne didn’t know if his second homer was deep enough to leave the ballpark.

“I thought it was going to hit the fence and come back,” he said. Instead it went just over the centerfield fence for his second two-run shot of the game.

The first one came after Andrew Beesley led off the bottom of the first with a walk. Natchez added two more runs as Bradley Jones singled and later scored when Darrick Lewis was hit by a pitch by Summit relief pitcher Justin Griffin with the bases loaded and Tyler Wilson scored on a Nic Webb single.

It could have been a bigger inning for Natchez. Lewis ran past second base and was tagged out trying to get back to the bag for the final out of the inning.

With one out in the top of the second inning, Griffin hit a ground ball that second baseman Brody Cole could not field cleanly and reached on an error. Griffin went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cameron Price, but was stranded there.

“Edwin had an excellent performance. He put it in his spots,” Natchez coach Terry Moffett said. “When they hit it, we were sitting there waiting for it.”

Summit starting pitcher Hunter Temple lasted just two-thirds of an inning as he gave up four runs on three hits and a walk and struck out one batter. He was replaced by Griffin with a full count and two outs.

Natchez then blew the game away by scoring nine runs in the bottom of the second. Landon Seyfarth and Luke Thomas scored on a double by Beesley, but Cole was thrown out a home plate trying to score from first base. Skeeter Myles brought in Beesley on a single before Byrne’s second home run of the game gave Natchez a 9-0 lead.

Christopher White made it back-to-back home runs as he hit a solo shot to left field to make it a 10-0 game. Natchez would tack on three more runs on a fielder’s choice by Lewis, an error and Seyfarth’s second single of the inning.

Moffett said he was pleased with not only how well his players hit the ball, but how patient they were at the plate.

“That is a big part we worked on. Getting quality at-bats. As long as we do that, we’ll be OK,” Moffett said.

Natchez had 13 hits in the ball game. Byrne, Jones and Seyfarth each went 2-for-2.

Byrne retired the side in order in the final two innings to end the game by way of the 10-run mercy rule.

As for his no-hitter, Byrne said, “Just tried to get the ball where the catcher put the mitt. I had my fastball working. I also have a curveball. But I didn’t throw my curveball.”

Next up for the Natchez 12-year-old All-Stars is the district tournament against North Sub-district Tournament champion Wesson. Game 1 is Thursday at Wesson with a time to be determined.