Natchez 10-year-olds rally for 22-8 win

Published 12:02 am Sunday, July 6, 2014

GALLMAN — With starting pitcher Landon Lees struggling with his control, Natchez 10-year-old All-Stars coach John Ward Junkin made a pitching change in a pivotal point in Saturday’s ball game.

He went with Zehlin Cornett with one out in the bottom of the second while Copiah had the bases loaded and was ready to take the lead. And while those three runs did score, Cornett pitched three and two-thirds effective innings to keep Natchez in the game.

And the bats woke up in a big way, allowing Natchez to rally from a 7-6 deficit to defeat Copiah 22-8 Saturday afternoon in a sub-district tournament game at Copiah Academy that ended up going all six innings.

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“We had some good, solid hitting one through 12. Everyone was hitting the ball,” Junkin said. “We had some good solid defense behind some excellent pitching.”

Cornett was credited with the win after allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts and just one walk over those three and two-thirds inning. Lees lasted just an inning and a third and gave up seven runs on just two hits but also four walks, three of them in the bottom of the second, and only one strikeout.

Ronnie McMillin came on in relief of Cornett and pitched the bottom of the sixth inning. McMillin walked one batter and struck out all three batters looking, Junkin said.

Natchez scored five runs in the top of the first inning and took a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the second before Copiah rallied for four runs to grab a 7-6 lead. That would be the last lead of the game for the home team.

Collin Cauthen’s two-run triple highlighted a four-run rally for Natchez in the top of the third inning for a 10-7 advantage. The visiting team got a three-run, inside-the-park home run from Paxton Junkin in the top of the fourth inning for a 13-7 lead.

“The kids gave 100 percent and it showed in the score,” coach Junkin said.

Natchez put the game away with eight runs in the top of the sixth, which included an RBI double by McMillin, who went 3-for-4. Lees made up for his performance on the mound by going 3-for-4 at the plate. Paxton Junkin also was 3-for-4.

Zeke Flattmann was 2-for-2 while both Cauthen and Joseph Garrity were 2-for-4 for Natchez, which amassed 19 hits in the game.

The Natchez 10-year-old All-Stars don’t play again until 8 p.m. when they face the Lincoln County Nationals.