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Natchez loses, but still will play for state title

HATTIESBURG — The Natchez 12-year-old Dixie Youth All-Stars didn’t have much luck during Tuesday’s state tournament loss to Canton.

But they saved all that luck for after the game, and as a result will still play for the state championship at 8:30 p.m. today.

Canton defeated Natchez 11-7 Tuesday, meaning that three teams — Canton, Natchez and Magee — all had 3-1 records in the tournament.

As a result, the three teams participated in a coin flip to determine which of the three teams would advance straight to the championship game while the other two teams played each other in a semifinal game.

Natchez won the coin flip, which means Canton will play Magee at 6 p.m. today and the winner of that game will take on Natchez for the state championship at 8:30.

“I’m not going to trade places with anybody, I’ll say that,” Natchez coach Terry Moffett said. “I was glad to see that coin flip come out in our favor.”

Natchez would seem to have the advantage, as it would only play one game today while its opponent will be playing two. But Moffett knows his team must execute much better on the field than it did Tuesday night.

“We hope it’s an advantage, but we’ve still got to play the game well,” Moffett said. “If we get good pitching, defense and timely hitting, we’ll be there.”

Unfortunately for Natchez, those three things were absent in Tuesday’s loss to Canton.

Natchez committed five errors and walked numerous Canton batters in the loss.

“We didn’t play well enough to win and that’s from pitching, defense and hitting,” Moffett said. “I’ve got to give Canton credit, they just whipped us.”

Natchez scored five runs in the first two innings off of Canton pitcher Wyatt Street, but only scored two more runs the rest of the game off the Canton pitcher.

“We got to him in the first and second inning, but it was the middle two innings (when Natchez scored no runs) that got us,” Moffett said. “We didn’t strike on him right there. You lose that opportunity, and it’s gone.”

Canton also struck for runs early in the game, scoring two in the first inning, four in the second and two more in the third.

Canton took an 11-5 lead with three runs in the fifth inning.

Natchez scored single runs in the fifth and sixth but could get no closer.

Natchez actually loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, but a groundout ended the game.

Christopher White and Luke Thomas were the offensive catalysts for Natchez as each hit home runs.

However, no other Natchez player had an extra base hit and no Natchez player had more than one hit in the game.

Parker Crosswhite hit a home run for Canton while Street, Crosswhite, Brett Lovelace and Russell Raymond each hit doubles in the victory.

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