Natchez High rolls past Port Gibson after tough loss at Region 5-5A rival Brookhaven

Published 10:59 am Monday, April 3, 2023

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JACKSON — Natchez High School senior Traylon Minor had an excellent game both on the mound and at the plate in leading the Bulldogs to an 8-2 win over the Port Gibson High School Blue Waves last Sunday afternoon at the Hank Aaron Tournament at Smith-Wills Stadium.

The game went six innings due to the time limit, but that did not affect Minor at all. On the mound, he pitched all six innings and gave up two unearned runs on three hits, struck out eight batters, and walked just one batter.

He was also a force at the plate as he went 3-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored.

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“He had a good game on the mound and at the plate,” Natchez High head coach Dan Smith said. “That’s our leader on the field. A lot of times he knows when to step up. He had some juice with his fastball.”

Smith added that his team got a lot of exposure from playing at a big stadium and in front of some notable people watching, and perhaps scouting, some players during the game. He noted that playing on a different kind of surface was a good thing as well.

“We played in a good environment. We got to see a college game. Tougaloo (College) played first. Overall, it was a good experience,” Smith said. “We played on turf. We got our kids some good exposure. There were a couple of college coaches there. And we won.

The Bulldogs scored three runs in the top of the first inning before the Blue Waves responded with one run in the bottom of the first. Natchez High scored one run each in the top of the second and third innings to go up 5-1 before Port Gibson scored what turned out to be its final run of the game in the bottom of the third.

Natchez High put the game out of reach with three runs in the top of the fifth inning. Even though Minor was the only multiple hitter for the Bulldogs, he wasn’t the only batter who came through. Jaylin Davis was 1-for-2 with a double, was waked twice, had two runs batted in, and scored one run while Jwun Mackey was 1-for-1 with a double and scored one run. Koren Harris was 1-for-3, was hit by a pitch, and scored two runs.

“We came back from Friday. That’s a good thing,” Smith added.

Port Gibson was led at the plate by Michael Evans, who was 2-for-2 and scored one run. Ronnie Mackey suffered the loss on the mound for the Blue Waves after surrendering eight runs, six of them earned, on eight hits, six walks, and four hit batters while striking out five.

Natchez High (8-10) played host to Bogue Chitto Attendance Center with the JV game at 5 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs returned to MHSAA Region 5-5A action on Tuesday as they traveled to Laurel to take on West Jones High School with the JV game at 5 p.m. and the varsity game at 7 p.m.

Brookhaven High 13, Natchez High 7 (Fri. night)

BROOKHAVEN – Ben Adams hit a game-changing grand slam home run as part of a five-run rally in the bottom of the third inning as the Brookhaven High School Panthers defeated the Natchez High School Bulldogs 13-7 last Friday night in MHSAA Region 5-5A play.

Brookhaven High jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first inning before Natchez High answered with a three-run rally of its own in the top of the second inning to make it a 4-4 game. The Panthers responded with a two-run rally of their own in the bottom of the second to go up 6-4.

And then Adams came through for the home team with his grand slam with two outs and one an 0-2 count against Bulldogs starting pitcher Jaylin Davis. That helped Brookhaven to an 11-4 lead and Natchez High was not able to get back in the game after that.

“We played a pretty good game. We had a few errors, but we had the same amount of errors as they did. We left a few runners on base,” Bulldogs head coach Dan Smith said. “They broke the game open on the grand slam by Adams. That got is in a little jam. That got us in a bind. For the early part, it was a pretty good game. We had more pressure put on us than we needed.”

Brookhaven scored one run each in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings while Natchez High scored two runs in the top of the fifth inning and one run in the top of the sixth.

Adams ended up going 2-for-4 with six RBIs and two runs scored. Winning pitcher Demetricus Andrew Nelson II had a triple and also allowed five runs, four of them earned, on four hits with six strikeouts, four walks, and one hit batter.

Jake Meilstrup was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and Bryson Porter was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Kameron Carter was 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored to lead the Bulldogs at the plate.

“We’re getting better. We’re making progress,” Smith said. “I can see some improvement in the younger guys. So that’s a good thing. We hit ball decent Friday night. Scored a few runs.

Davis lasted just three innings and allowed 11 runs, 10 of them earned, on nine hits with four walks, two strikeouts and one hit batter. Jwun Mackey came on in relief and held the Panthers to just two runs, one earned, on three hits with one strikeout and four walks.

The loss dropped Natchez High to 7-10 overall and 0-4 in Region 5-5A.