Natchez 11s lost protest, then game

Published 12:57 am Sunday, July 18, 2010

MAGEE — Thanks to a controversial call that didn’t go their way and a lack of clutch hitting, the Natchez 11-year-old All-Star team experienced a new sensation Saturday night — losing.

Natchez lost to Pascagoula 3-0 in the second game of the Dixie Youth South Regional tournament Saturday, snapping their seven game winning streak.

Natchez had not lost a game in any tournament this year before Saturday.

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And their first loss had an air of controversy to it.

With the game scoreless in the bottom of the fifth inning and a runner on third, Pascagoula hit a fly ball to center.

Natchez centerfield J.J. Jenkins made a great catch and then threw home to try and gun down the runner trying to tag up and score.

The ball and runner got there at the same time, and the runner plowed over Natchez catcher Zac Flattman, knocking the ball away from the catcher.

Natchez protested the run being allowed to score on the grounds that a runner is not allowed to run over a catcher.

After a lengthy delay, Dixie Youth officials ruled Flattman didn’t have possession of the ball when he was run into, and the rule states the catcher must have possession of the ball for the runner to be declared out for running into the catcher.

“In all baseball I’ve ever played or coached, you must slide or attempt to slide to avoid contact with the catcher or you’re out,” Natchez coach Gary Farmer said. “They claimed he didn’t have possession of the ball so (the runner) can run over him.

“But that’s not what beat us. I’m not a sore loser, and whatever the protest committee decided was fine with us.”

That made the score 1-0 and Pascagoula went on to score two more runs in the inning.

Natchez went down in order in the top of the sixth inning to end the game.

Natchez actually outhit Pascagoula 6-3, but couldn’t get a big hit with runners in scoring position.

“Pascagoula hit the ball with runners in scoring position and we didn’t,” Farmer said. “We didn’t get the timely hits we needed. We had enough runners on base to win the game, but we couldn’t get them in. Tonight, Pascagoula was the better team.”

Gage Dossett and Dalvion Jackson had doubles for Natchez in the loss.

With the loss, Natchez drops into the loser’s bracket and will play Wayne County at 6 p.m. today in an elimination game.