Natchez gives up 20 runs in Friday loss

Published 12:02 am Saturday, March 21, 2015

Natchez High School catcher Quincy Henderson catches a difficult pop fly behind home plate during the Bulldogs’ game against Pearl River Central High School Friday. (Sam Gause | The Natchez Democrat)

Natchez High School catcher Quincy Henderson catches a difficult pop fly behind home plate during the Bulldogs’ game against Pearl River Central High School Friday. (Sam Gause | The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — In the fifth inning of Friday night’s 20-0 Pearl River Central victory, three Natchez High players ran toward a pop fly in shallow center field only to lose the ball in the lights, committing the fifth error of the game in the process.

The play scored two runs to improve the Blue Devils already established lead to 18-0.

“They were nervous,” said Natchez head coach Dan Smith of the 20-0 loss. “Those plays that they missed, they make those with their eyes closed at practice. A lot of them aren’t used to playing in front of a big crowd like this.”

Jarell Morris broke up a combined no-hitter for Pearl River Central in the fifth inning with a single, but that would prove to be the Bulldogs lone hit of the game.

“Everybody is trying to pull the ball to the left, and they need to learn to hit to the opposite field,” Smith said.

Shavoke Herrington and Chris Scott did not play for the Bulldogs in the loss. Herrington sat out for disciplinary reasons, while Scott was battling allergy issues. Smith said both players would be available in the game against McComb today.

“One or two players can’t win a baseball game, but I can honestly say having them would have helped,” Smith said.

The Blue Devils scored three runs on Natchez starting pitcher Jordan Hamilton before an eight-run second inning. Errors and walks created multiple opportunities for Pearl River Central to produce runs, and that the Blue Devils did. The Blue Devils recorded 13 hits at the plate, and subbed in most of its junior varsity squad in the third inning.

Of the 21 Natchez at-bats, the Bulldogs struck out 12 times, continuously struggling to produce at the plate.

Smith credited the loss as growing pains for a team that is still trying to discover its own identity, and he fully expects the team to improve with more experience down the road.

“This is a team that’s gone from one head coach to the next,” Smith said. “I’m still feeling them out and they’re still feeling me out.”