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NHS gets walkoff win

Lanier’s Wallace Owens tries to tag Natchez High’s Lee Jackson during their game at the Chester Willis Field in Natchez. The Bulldogs won 10-7 in eight innings. (Eric J. Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Natchez High School’s Davion Ward wasn’t a fan of the strike one call during his at-bat in the bottom of the eighth.

So, on the very next pitch, he decided to smash a walkoff three-run home run over the left field wall, giving NHS a 10-7 win over Lanier High School from Jackson.

Lanier pitcher Christopher Chandler put his 0-1 pitch exactly where Ward wanted it, and Ward said his disagreement over the strike one call helped fuel him.

“(That strike one call) was bogus, it wasn’t even close,” Ward said. “It made me more aggressive.

“I just saw the pitch was a nice high-and-inside fastball, the same pitch I work on all day in practice. It feels great (getting the walkoff win). It’s like a dream come true.”

NHS led 5-4 in the top of the seventh, but Javon Washington struggled in relief, allowing the two runs to score. The Bulldogs answered back with a run in the bottom of the seventh, tying the game 6-6 and sending it into the eighth.

Lanier added one more run in the top of the eighth, but NHS tied it up on a sacrifice fly by Brian Isaac that scored a runner from third. Trevon Chatman reached second base on the sacrifice and Javon Washington walked in the next at-bat, setting up Ward’s three-run blast.

“It was a good win,” NHS head coach Charlie Williams said. “It had me nervous — very, very nervous.

“I wasn’t pleased with the way we played. We played good in strides, but we didn’t hit the ball consistently. Still, we’ll take it.”

Travonte Green got the start for NHS and ran into trouble early, surrendering three runs in the top of the first. But the Bulldogs answered with two in the bottom half of the inning.

Isaac got caught in a rundown between first and second, allowing Chatman to score while the Lanier defenders were distracted. Later in the inning, Washington scored when Ward reached on a fielding error in left.

Lanier scored another run in the top of the second, and the game remained 4-2 until the bottom of the third. NHS took the lead 5-4 after Ward singled in Isaac, Washington scored on a wild pitch and Alfred Banks drove in another run on a sacrifice fly.

Green lasted three innings, striking out three batters. Derrian Johnson pitched the fourth and fifth for NHS, striking out two and surrendering no runs.

Washington came in to start the sixth, and got the win for the Bulldogs after Ward’s walkoff shot. He allowed three runs to score and struck out four. He also struggled with his command, allowing one walk, hits and two hit batsmen.

“We weren’t expecting (Washington) to pitch today, we just wanted to get him a little work,” Williams said. “We only planned to have him throw 35 pitches, but it ended up going into extras, and he threw about 50.

“He has a strong arm and does a lot of long-tossing, so it won’t affect him that much.”

NHS rose to 14-7 on the season. It will host Warren Central a 6 p.m. Monday.

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