Just what’s needed: Natchez delivers late spark to pull out win over McComb

Published 12:43 am Saturday, March 3, 2018

Trailing by one run for a majority of play, Natchez High School waited patiently for its chance to blossom Friday night.

The Bulldogs scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, propelling them to a 12-8 victory over McComb.

“They are really growing up,” Natchez coach Dan Smith said. “This time last year they would have been panicking, but they stayed calm. That was great, and I was very proud of them.”

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Adding to a total of 12 hits on the night, Natchez’s JaMichael Mackey drove in Kelvin Jones for the tying run, 6-6.

After Jones ran to home plate with such force he lost his right shoe, the Bulldogs needed nothing else to spark the win.

“It took until the second time around the batting order for them to get going, but maybe I need to tell him to kick his shoe off more often,” Smith said. “I think that’s what really did it — the lucky shoe.”

Trylon Minor and Jatavis Melton both stole home to score the next two runs, and Paul Hargrave and L.J. Minor each added an additional RBI to seal the lead in the fifth.

McComb added another two runs itself in the top of the sixth, but left two more on base when Jones made a diving right-field catch to end the frame.

Tra Davis pitched 5.1 innings to earn the win for Natchez, ending with nine strikeouts. Shavoké Herrington closed out the effort on the mound with another two strikeouts.

“On a cold night, (Davis) really hung in there,” Smith said. “He threw 80, 90 pitches in the cold early in the season. But, he’s a senior so I expect him to do that.

“That was good to see from (Herrington) because he’s still trying to gt his body and mind back into it.”

Melton led the offensive efforts, batting 3-for-5 and two RBIs. Hargrave and Herrington both ended the night with two hits.

Holding on to an early-season win for the Bulldogs’ (2-0) first home game this season, Smith said he was pleased with his team’s overall effort.

“We had a couple of early errors, but it didn’t hurt us too much,” Smith said. “We fought through it. I’m kind of glad it was close because it let us see where we are.

“It’s a win. I like where we are at even though we aren’t quite where I want or my coaching staff wants to be.”

Natchez will be back in action at the West Lincoln Tournament when it plays Bogue Chitto at noon and Loyd Star at 2 p.m.