Natchez 12s win state championship
HATTIESBURG — The most important element of the Natchez Dixie Youth 12-year-old All-Star team’s state championship contest Wednesday night wasn’t talent or skill. It was plain old guts.
And led by pitcher Tyler Wilson, Natchez showed plenty of guts and heart in an 11-3 state championship victory over Magee that was much closer than the final score indicated.
“I’m proud of every one of these kids,” Natchez coach Terry Moffett said. “One through 12 you can just start naming them. It’s a super bunch of kids that worked hard. The hard work they put in earned them a state championship and a trip to the World Series.”
Natchez will begin play in the Dixie Youth World Series in Gonzalez, La., on Aug. 7 when they take on the Tennessee state champions.
But while Wednesday’s final score showed an eight-run difference, the game was a nail-biter until the final inning.
Natchez scored three runs in the top of the first inning thanks to two bases-loaded walks and an Edwin Byrne RBI groundout.
That’s how the score remained until the bottom of the fourth.
Magee scored two runs on a Natchez error and looked to tie the game with two outs after Wilson threw a wild pitch with a runner at third base.
However, catcher Christopher White quickly retrieved the ball and threw it to Wilson covering home to nail the runner at the plate for the third out of the inning.
It wouldn’t be the last time Wilson had to pitch his way out of trouble.
Natchez answered those two runs with two of their own in the top of the fifth thanks to a Magee error.
With the bases loaded and one out, Skeeter Myles hit a grounder back to the pitcher.
The pitcher threw home for the force out, but the catcher threw wildly to first base trying to double up Myles, allowing two runs to cross the plate.
By the bottom of the fifth inning, Wilson was almost out of gas on the mound, and walked the bases loaded with two outs.
But with a possible state championship on the line, he induced a popup to second baseman Brody Cole for the third out of the inning, preserving Natchez’s three-run lead.
“That was a good time to get that pop-up,” Moffett said. “I know Tyler was getting tired and he was on his last leg, but about 10 years from now he’s going to look back on it and have a memory to last him a lifetime.”
With the close call behind them, Natchez’s offense came to life in the top of the sixth inning as they scored six runs to finally put the game out of reach.
Bradley Jones got the scoring started with a two-run home run and Landon Seyfarth followed with a two-run single later in the inning.
Andrew Beesley would then hit a RBI single and the final run of the inning scored on a Magee error.
Wilson walked two batters and allowed a run in the bottom of the sixth, but induced three groundouts to end the game and send Natchez to the Dixie Youth World Series.
Wilson walked eight batters in the game, but countered that by allowing just one hit.
Moffett said he has seen a big difference in this team from years past when they fell short in the state tournament.
“It seemed like this group matured this year,” Moffett said. “I don’t mean one of them, I mean every kid one through 12. Just list their names and if you want to know what an All-Star is, that’ll be it.”
So to honor Moffett’s request, here is the list of what an All-Star team truly is: Andrew Beesley, Skeeter Myles, Edwin Byrne, Christopher White, Bradley Jones, Luke Thomas, Will Moffett, Darrick Lewis, Nic Webb, Tyler Wilson, Landon Seyfarth and Brody Cole.
Those are the names of state champions.