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Natchez High loses lead, falls 11-10

JACKSON — For the second straight game, the Natchez High Bulldogs blew a big lead because of untimely mistakes in the field and a pitcher who couldn’t find the strike zone in the final two innings.

After three and a half innings of play, Natchez High led Lanier 7-0 and still led the host Bulldogs 7-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth. It was then that Natchez High unraveled.

Lanier took advantage of three hits, two hit batters, two walks and two errors to take an 8-7 lead. Lanier then had to hold off Natchez High’s late rally attempt to end with an 11-10 win Saturday afternoon.

However, Natchez High head coach Charlie Williams said the turning point of the ball game was not Lanier’s seven-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning. Although he admitted, “that was the inning that killed us.”

“The pivotal point in the game was the (bottom of the) sixth inning,” Williams said. “We had a routine fly ball that the left fielder dropped and the second baseman made a critical error. And the pitcher (Trevonte Green) made an error. He threw the ball into centerfield.”

And those three errors allowed Lanier to score its three runs in the home half of the sixth that gave the host Bulldogs an 11-8 advantage. But the visiting Bulldogs from Natchez High would not go away quietly. They scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to cut Lanier’s lead to just one run to make it an 11-10 game. Unfortunately for Natchez High, its rally fell a little short.

“We weren’t at full strength today. We had three starters out of the game. But that’s not an excuse,” Williams said. “We had the game at hand, but we made errors at the wrong time.”

After a scoreless first inning, Natchez High scored one run in the top of the second inning and another run an inning later before exploding for five runs in the top of the fourth. The visiting Bulldogs had four hits in that frame with the big hit being a two-run single by Quinton Logan, who went 2-for-4.

Brian Isaac hit a home run and went 2-for-2 while Johnathon Hawkins had a double and Davion Ward was 2-for-2 to lead Natchez High, which had nine hits in the game. Lanier, on the other hand, had 11 hits and was led by winning pitcher Fredrick Ward, who went 4-for-4 with two doubles. On the mound, Ward went the distance as he struck out six and walked nine

Green was charged with the loss as he pitched one inning. He struck out two, walked two and hit one batter. Starting pitcher Derrian Johnson went the first five innings. Just like Javon Washington against Terry on Friday night, Johnson pitched well through the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth.

“He got off the hook. He started off real good. Then he got sluggish at the end. Green helped us get out of there (bottom of the fifth),” Williams said. “We just didn’t play our game today. We made too many critical errors like we did last night. That was a young team we had out there today – all 10th graders and two eighth-graders. They showed some promise. They played their hearts out.”

Natchez High (12-7) returns to Division 6-6A play on Tuesday when plays at Wingfield. The junior varsity game starts at 4 p.m. and will be followed by the varsity game at 6 p.m.

Buckeye 5, Vidalia 4

DEVILLE, La. — A softly hit ground ball by Buckeye with the bases loaded and just one out somehow got past the left side of Vidalia’s drawn-in infield and that allowed the game-winning run to score in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Panthers rallied to defeat the Vikings in a District 3-3A game Saturday afternoon.

Vidalia looked like it was going to win the game in regulation after Caleb Vines hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to give the Vikings a 4-2 lead. But a walk, an error, back-to-back singles and another error led to two Buckeye runs in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.

“We made a couple of errors in the bottom of the seventh that cost us,” Vikings head coach Tim Herndon said.

Buckeye took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning before Vidalia took the lead in the top of the third inning with a pair of runs. The score remained 2-1 in the Vikings’ favor until the Panthers scored one run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The starting and relief pitchers for both Vidalia and Buckeye did a good job of keeping it a lower-scoring game than it could have been. Lane Strong started for Vidalia and allowed four runs on seven hits and just one walk while striking out three over seven innings. Jamal Davis, who was charged with the loss, pitched the final 2 1/3 innings and allowed one run on one hit, struck out two, walked two and hit one batter.

Jim Ryder was the starting pitcher for Buckeye and he gave up four runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out eight batters in eight innings. Winning pitcher Jason Carter went the final two innings and allowed just one hit, struck out one and walked none.

Vidalia (5-14, 3-5) hosts Avoyelles on Thursday with the JV game at 4 p.m. and the varsity game at 6 p.m.

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