Florence shutsout, sweeps Natchez

Published 3:13 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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FLORENCE — Natchez High School’s varsity baseball team was swept last Friday afternoon in an MHSAA Region 3-5A varsity doubleheader on the road at Florence High School as the Eagles won both games of the twin bill by identical 10-0 scores with each game going just five innings.

Florence (16-9, 7-4) scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning of each game and never looked back. Yet despite being shut out by a more experienced Eagles team, Natchez High head coach Dan Smith said his young Bulldogs team is gaining valuable experience.

“We started off pretty good. But we’re a young team that’s trying find its identity and trying to find out how to win. A lot of the games we’ve been in it. A play hear of there would have changed the game. We have an error and they take advantage of it. It’s part of the growing pains,” Smith said.

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In the first game, Florence added to its 2-0 lead with two runs in the bottom of the second inning and one run in the bottom of the third off Natchez High starting pitcher Jaylin Davis. The Eagles then plated five runs off Davis in the bottom of the fourth for a 10-0 lead and put the run rule in effect for the fifth inning. 

Unfortunately, the Bulldogs could not bring in one run off Florence starting pitcher Ace McCallum in the top of the fifth to keep the game going. The Eagles did not have to bat in the bottom of the fifth.

McCallum went all five innings and allowed just five hits, struck out nine batters, and walked four batters. He helped his own cause by going 3-for-3 with a triple, three runs batted in, and one run scored. Luke Nichelson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Davis went four innings and gave up 10 runs, six of the earned, on nine hits and one walk while striking out two batters. The defense behind him committed four errors.

Jaylin Neal was 2-for-2 and was walked once. Mason Bouldin and Drylon Scott each went 1-for-2 while Mason Bouldin was 1-for-3.

In the second game, Andrew Scott was the winning pitcher for Florence as he went all five innings and held Natchez High to just three hits. He also struck out seven batters, walked three batters, and hit two batters.

After its early 2-0 lead, the Eagles jumped on Natchez High starting pitcher Brylon McDaniel for four runs in the top of the third inning to take a 6-0 lead. Florence then added one run in the bottom of the fourth inning and ended the game early by run-ruling the Bulldogs with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.

McDaniel went four and two-thirds innings and gave up 10 runs, eight of them earned, on nine hits and six walks while striking out three batters. And just like Game 1, the Bulldogs had four errors.

Cadamion Hawkins went 1-for-2 while both Jaylin Davis and Martavis Woods went 1-for-3.

“The more we play, the better they’re going to get. The only way you can get better is by playing and experience,” Smith said. “We have only one senior on our team. Like I told them, our (region) is going to be a tough region. I’m proud of my kids. They continue to fight. The continue to work hard in practice. They continue to get better.”

Natchez High (11-13, 0-6) traveled to Brookhaven to take on Region 3-5A rival Brookhaven High School on Tuesday with the junior varsity game at 4:30 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 6:30 p.m.