Natchez High gets shut out by Pascagoula at Battle of the Beach Tournament

Published 1:33 pm Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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GULFPORT — Natchez High School’s varsity baseball team was scheduled to play three games last weekend at the 2024 Battle at the Beach High School Baseball Tournament. Instead, the Bulldogs had to settle for just one game because of inclement weather last Friday afternoon.

And not even at either of the high school baseball fields down on the Mississippi Gulf Coast that Natchez High was originally scheduled to play at last Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

Because so many fields were deemed unplayable because of all the rain that fell in that part of the Magnolia State, the MHSAA Class 5A Bulldogs wound up playing Class 6A Pascagoula High School and fell to the Panthers 14-0 in four innings last Saturday afternoon at Gulfport High School.

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“Gulfport was the only field down here that was playable. The rest of them had too much water on them,” Bulldogs head coach Dan Smith said last Saturday afternoon before their game against Pascagoula.

That was one of Natchez High’s original opponents at the Battle of the Beach Tournament — and that game was supposed to have taken place at Pascagoula High School last Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Bulldogs had their games against Class 2A Pelahatchie High School last Friday afternoon at Pascagoula and against Class 6A West Harrison High School at West Harrison last Saturday morning canceled due to the rough weather and unplayable field conditions.

And first pitch of the Bulldogs’ game against the Panthers wasn’t until approximately 2 p.m. Pascagoula was ready and, apparently, Natchez High was not.

Winning pitcher Ra’Shard Earnest pitched the first three innings and did not give up a single run, walked none, struck out five, and allowed just one base hit — a single by No. 6 hole batter Charlie Grant III. Willie Sims came on in relief to pitch the top of the fourth inning and he struck out one batter.

On the other hand, it was a rough outing on the mound for Natchez High starting pitcher Jamarius Bell and reliever Brylon McDaniel. Bell lasted just one-plus innings and gave up four runs, three of them earned, on two hits and one walk while striking out none and hitting two batters. McDaniel pitched two innings and allowed 10 runs, seven of them earned, on seven hits, three walks, and one hit batter while striking out two batters.

Two Pascagoula batters that gave the Bulldogs fits were left fielder Sean Norvel and first baseman Denzel Melendez. Norvel went 2-for-3 with a double and a triple to go along with six runs batted in and one run scored while Melendez was 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs, and two runs scored.

Panthers designated hitter Sebastian Ford was 1-for-1 with a double, one walk, two RBIs, and two runs scored. Shortstop Griffin Wells was 1-for-2 with one RBI and two runs scored while third baseman Adrian Rosado was 1-for-2, was walked once, and scored two runs.

Efforts to reach coach Smith on Monday morning for comments on the game were unsuccessful.

Natchez High (8-8) returned to MHSAA Region 3-5A action on Tuesday when they traveled to Summit to take on North Pike High School with the junior varsity game at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity game at 6:30 p.m.