Mudcats fall in Cal Ripken semifinals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2003

North Jackson’s Wic Smith slides into home ahead of the tag of Vicksburg Mudcats catcher Jonah Masterson during the Cal Ripken 8-year-olds’ state tournament. North Jackson won the game, 9-2. (Chad ApplebaumThe Vicksburg Post)

[7/8/03]The last of the Vicksburg teams in the 8-year-olds’ Cal Ripken State Tournament bowed out Monday in a tournament ruled by rainy weather and postponements.

The Vicksburg Mudcats, who played four games on Sunday, were beaten by North Jackson, 9-2, in the tournament semifinals.

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Clinton beat North Jackson later Monday to claim the championship.

The 9-year-olds’ state tournament will enter the final day today when North Jackson plays Orange Grove at 5 p.m. North Jackson beat Clinton and Meridian on Monday and were supposed to play Orange Grove Monday night, but Babe Ruth rules stipulate that a team can only play two games per day.

North Jackson will have to beat Orange Grove twice today to win the title and advance to the regional.

The Mudcats fell behind 7-0 before making a fifth-inning comeback with two runs. But North Jackson added a pair in the top of the sixth give North Jackson a seven-run lead. Cal Ripken rules allow a team to score a maximum of six runs per inning in this age group, meaning the Mudcats did not hit in the bottom of the sixth.

“They are a great group of kids,” said Mudcats’ coach Marshall Upton, who said despite the four games on Sunday, his team was not tired. “We’ll take it back to the drawing board.”

Chipper Leech blasted a single and a double, and Reed Evans had two singles as the Mudcats had eight hits in the game.

Gabe Bufkin drove in Richie Bufkin with a fifth-inning RBI single, and Darius Taylor had an RBI groundout to cut Jackson’s lead to 7-2.

An RBI double by Trent Turner in the top of the sixth scored Matt Smith, and Nicholas Guy’s single scored Turner to end the game.

Smith led Jackson with two singles, a double and three RBIs, while Wic Smith had three hits and Turner belted two.

Jackson scored one in the first, then added two runs in each of the second, third and fifth innings.

The Mudcats will now focus on the USSSA World Series next week.


North Jackson 4, Clinton 0

Carter Thigpen pitched four innings of shutout relief to lift North Jackson past its metro rivals.

Thigpen, along with Ryan Buchanan, Will Puckett and John Morgan Berry each had two singles for North Jackson.

Blake Gober registered a pair of hits for Clinton.

North Jackson 14, Meridian 4

North Jackson scored 12 runs in the first two innings to run away with the semifinal win.

Buchanan and Berry had two hits each, and Puckett pitched four innings to get the win.

The game ended after the fourth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.

Taylor Carmichael had a single and a triple for Meridian.