Natchez 12s preparing for South State tournament Friday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 15, 2010

NATCHEZ — Head coach Terry Moffett might be out of town, but that hasn’t stopped the Natchez 12-year-old All-Stars from getting their practices in.

The Natchez 12s, which head to Magee Friday for the Mississippi Dixie Youth South State tournament, were back at practice Wednesday, ironing out the small details. Assistant coach Jeff Webb, who is running practices with Moffett out of town, said practices have been going well so far this week.

“We’re ready to go up to Magee. There are no major changes (to what we’ve been doing), we’re just making sure we’re seeing the ball well and going over defensive situations we might see. We have to try and avoid silly mistakes,” Webb said.

That goes for off the field as well as on the field, Webb said.

“I told my players that we needed to remember that we have a big game Friday, and they don’t need to do anything that could hurt them, like riding a skateboard,” Webb said.

“We have a player that rode a skateboard and fell off, and they can’t be doing that. But this is our third straight trip to South State, so they know what to expect.”

The 12s will face Hattiesburg in the first round Friday, and Webb said they would likely bring a threat similar to what his team brings.

“They were runner-up to Columbia in their district, and I think they play a style of ball similar to what we play,” he said.

“We’re not a real speedy team. We have big kids and big bats. We rely on defense and pitching, and that’s been our focus the entire season.”

Still, there has been no shortage of offense for the 12s since the All-Star sub-district games began, Webb said.

“Over the course of sub-district and district, we’ve scored 64 runs and only given up four runs, so that’s a pretty good ratio,” Webb said.

“It doesn’t mean much now, though. With South State here, all of that’s erased.”

Christopher White, 12, who pitches and catches for the Natchez 12s, said he expects his team to go all the way to the state tournament this year.

“We’re pretty comfortable. We’ll make it to state if we play like we (are capable of),”

White said.

“Our pitching and defense has been better than the last few years, and our hitting has been better. We’re just playing better all around.”