Natchez rallies to beat Amite County in ‘home’ game on the road

Published 1:12 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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LIBERTY — Not all ways to run-rule your opponent are the same. Natchez High School’s varsity baseball team found that out in the Bulldogs’ game against Amite County High School last Tuesday night.

After being held scoreless through three innings and trailing by deficits of 2-0 early on and 3-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, any thoughts of Natchez High doing just that to Amite County on the road despite being the ‘home’ team seemed impossible, if not improbable.

Yet somehow, the Bulldogs used a four-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to take their first lead of the game and then exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to defeat the Trojans 14-4 in six innings.

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Amite County scored two runs off Natchez High starting pitcher Jamarius Bell to give the visiting Trojans from Liberty some unexpected momentum. Trojans starting pitcher J. McGhee did his part by shutting out the Bulldogs over the first three innings.

The Bulldogs finally got to McGhee in the bottom of the fourth inning as they put up two runs to tie the game. However, the Trojans scored a run off Bell to retake the lead at 3-2.

“We started getting base runners on and got a few base hits. We got off to a slow start. The sixth inning, (Antonio) Crenshaw got the big hit. It was more of us not being patient at the plate,” Bulldogs head coach Dan Smith said.

Smith said the game was supposed to have been a home game for Natchez High, but because of repairs still taking place at Chester Willis Field, the Bulldogs are having to play their early-season home games on the road. He said he hopes Natchez High will play their first official home game of the 2024 season next Tuesday.

Natchez High’s offense finally came to life over the final two innings to end the game a little early. Crenshaw went 2-for-3 with four stolen bases, one run batted in, and three runs scored. Drylon Scott went 2-for-2 with a double, was walked twice, stole four bases, and had three RBIs and one run scored.

“Later on in the game, we got a little more patient. The bottom of the order is what got us started. If you look at my line-up, I’m starting four middle-schoolers on the varsity roster. I only have three returning starters. We have a young team. They’re getting better by the day,” Smith said.

Mason Bouldin added a triple as he went 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored. Jaylin Davis went 1-for-4 with a double, three stolen bases, and two RBIs.

Both McGhee and Bell were pulled after four and two-thirds innings. And each of them had solid outings. McGhee allowed six runs, five of them earned, on four hits. He struck out nine batters and walked seven. Bell got the win as he gave up three runs, two of them earned, on just two hits, struck out seven batters, and walked only three.

Natchez High’s bullpen was much steadier than Amite County’s was. The Bulldogs’ Kvian Smith allowed one earned run on no hits with two walks and one strikeout over one and one-third innings. Meanwhile, the Trojans’ R. Clark gave up seven runs, six of them earned, on three hits and four walks with just one strikeout in one-third of an inning and G. Young gave up one earned run on one hit with one walk without retiring a single batter in the bottom of the sixth.

Young was the lone bright spot for Amite County at the plate as he went 1-for-2 with a double and three RBIs.

Natchez High (3-1) next travels to Jackson to take on Provine High School at 6 p.m. After that, the Bulldogs travel to Raymond to take on Raymond High School on Saturday with the junior varsity game at 11 a.m., followed by the varsity game at 1 p.m.

Natchez High 12, Port Gibson 7 (Monday night)

PORT GIBSON — Brylon McDaniel pitched seven solid innings while Jamarius Bell and Mason Bouldin combined for five base hits as the Natchez High Bulldogs overcame an early three-run deficit to defeat the Port Gibson High School Blue Waves 12-7 last Monday night.

McDaniel gave up seven runs, two of them earned, on four hits with eight strikeouts and three walks in going the distance and earning the win on the mound. The only trouble he got into was in the bottom of the second inning, when Port Gibson took advantage of some Natchez High errors to score five runs for a 6-3 lead.

That lead would not last very long as the Bulldogs took command with a four-run rally in the top of the third inning for 7-6 lead. After each team scored one run in the fourth inning, Natchez High continued to add to its lead with one run in the top of the fifth inning, two runs in the top of the sixth, and one run in the top of the seventh. The Bulldogs finished with eight hits and took advantage of six errors and 11 walks issued by Port Gibson pitching.

Bell went 3-for-4 with five stolen bases, one run batted in, and three runs scored. Bouldin was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, one RBI, and two runs scored. Kvian Smith was walked three times, stole four bases, and scored three runs.

Michael Evans got the start on the mound for Port Gibson and had an up-and-down performance over his five innings. He allowed nine runs, seven of them earned, on five hits while striking out 11 batters and walking 10 batters. Centrell Hedrick came on in relief and gave up three runs, two of them earned, on three hits with three strikeouts and just one walk.

Despite his odd outing on the mound, Evans went 2-for-4 at the plate with one RBI and two runs scored. Raphael Neal was 1-for-2 with one RBI and one run scored while Hedrick was 1-for-2 with one run scored.