Despite just six hits, Natchez 11s cruise in tourney opener

Published 12:48 am Saturday, July 17, 2010

MAGEE — Even though the Natchez 11-year-old All-Stars had just six hits in their first-round game of the South State Tournament, two of them turned out to be huge.

Sam Parker delivered in the top of the first inning with a three-run triple and Gage Dossett hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth as Natchez clobbered Columbia 11-1 in just four innings Friday afternoon.

Even though there were strong thunderstorms earlier in the afternoon which led to wet and muddy field conditions, the games went on as scheduled. And while it also rained the entire game, it didn’t seem to affect Natchez too much.

Especially in the top of the first inning. Parker’s bases-clearing triple was the big hit for Natchez, which scored eight runs before Columbia even went to bat.

“Columbia did walk a few batters. When they did that, we made them pay for it,” Natchez 11-year-old All-Stars coach Gary Farmer said.

Despite 10-run ruling Columbia, Farmer said he wasn’t pleased about the team letting off the gas in the final three innings.

“I really believe the team kind of cruised from that point on. We weren’t fired up with an eight-run lead. You don’t want to ever let up,” Farmer said. “But they let up and cruised to a victory.”

Natchez made up for the lack of hitting with good defense as well as outstanding pitching performances from starting pitcher Christian Day and Dalvion Jackson.

Day was the winning pitcher. He pitched two scoreless innings, gave up just one hit and one walk, and struck out two. Jackson, who also went 2-for-3 at the plate, gave up one run on two hits while striking out three in two innings. Columbia scored its only run in the bottom of the fourth inning as it tried to extend the game, but to no avail.

“Christian threw a fine game and kept them off-balanced. He had his fastball working and came back with a good changeup. We brought in Dalvion, who hasn’t pitched too much this year. He threw the ball hard and had a good little breaking ball,” Farmer said.

Both teams played about as good defense as possible with the elements they were playing in. Natchez didn’t commit a single error while Columbia had just one error.

“We played error-free. Very well on a wet field,” Farmer said.

The Natchez 11-year-old All-Stars advanced in the winners’ bracket and will take on Pascagoula today at 8 p.m.