Mudcats finish fourth after nipping rival A’s

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 9, 2001

Travis Barnett, left, of the Mudcats forces out Christopher Ingram of the Vicksburg A’s at second. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[07/09/01] Vicksburg Mudcats coach Marshall Upton told his team after its 14-7 loss to Jefferson Davis County that seven teams had already gone home empty-handed.

His went home with medals.

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

After winning an emotional 13-12 game over the Vicksburg Athletics Sunday morning, the Mudcats could not handle a hard-hitting JDC team.

The Mudcats finished fourth in the 11-team Cal Ripken 7-8-year-olds’ state tournament at Halls Ferry Park.

“We wanted to win the whole thing. That’s a realistic goal for every team,” Tom Lee, another Mudcats’ coach, said after handing out medals to each player. “It didn’t work out that way, but we played a great game and we learned a lot.”

Greg Williams led the Mudcats with a home run, single and two RBIs, while KaWayne Mason had a double, single and an RBI and Will Stegall had two singles.

But it was JDC’s offense that stole the show with 20 hits, led by Wesley Brown’s two doubles, a single and RBI. Larry Copeland had a home run, single and two RBIs and Henry Brown had a three-run double.

In the Cal Ripken League, coaches pitch and each batter has seven pitches to hit the ball. JDC rarely needed that many pitches, but for a while, the Mudcats hung right with their older competition.

No Mudcat is 8 years old and several are 6.

“Our kids grew up a lot,” Upton said. “They found out they have to do a lot of things to make up the difference in size and everything. They knew they had to play good ball because they were up against a lot.”

After falling behind 5-0 after the first inning, Stegall, Jonathan Clay, Travis Barnett and Greg Williams all scored in the top of the second to pull to within 5-4.

Mason’s RBI double in the third tied the game at 5, but JDC countered with six runs the maximum allowed per inning in the bottom of the third. The inning was highlighted by Brown’s three-RBI double.

Williams’ two-run home run in the top of the fourth cut the deficit to 11-7, but a two-run home run by Copeland and a RBI single by Zachary Hall upped the lead to 14-7.

The Mudcats stranded two in the bottom of the fifth and final inning.

“This team really played well,” Lee said. “Everyone can be proud from the parents, to the coaches, to the grandmas and grandpas. This was a wonderful experience for the boys.”

Mudcats 13, A’s 12

The Mudcats scored six runs in the fourth and held off a rally in the bottom of the last inning for the win.

Eargle had two singles and a triple, while Stegall, Cameron Upton, Andre Jenkins and Austin McCann each had two singles. Mason chipped in with a double.

For the A’s, Chris Ingram had a triple and a single.