Gators creep closer to postseason berth|[4/5/05]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

Vicksburg coach Jamie Creel deemed Monday’s game with Natchez a poor effort, but the end result was good enough to move the Gators closer to a 5A playoff bid.

Vicksburg won 10-3 but was outhit 8-5 by the visiting Bulldogs in a Division 6-5A game at Bazinsky Field.

“We stunk up the field,” Creel said bluntly. “We didn’t hit the baseball like we are capable of doing. What we’d get, five or six hits? And most of those came in one inning.”

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The Gators (14-6, 3-1) overcame the spotty bats with a solid game from pitcher Avery Mathes, who pitched six strong innings before tiring in the seventh.

Natchez helped out the Gator offense by walking six batters and hitting three others. But it was a dropped fly ball in left that really opened the door for VHS in a key five-run, fifth inning.

With two out and nobody on, Heath Daigre sent a fly ball to left. Center fielder Des Smoot ran into his left fielder, causing an error which put Daigre on second.

Natchez’ infield, however, thought a catch had been made and had come off the field. The home plate umpire sent them back.

“The outfielders collided and the ball went 5 feet over their head, but I guess the (other) umpire couldn’t see it, but it was a definite error,” Creel said.

“I still question that call, even though, it was probably right,” said Natchez coach Charlie Williams. “But that wasn’t the difference. Our downfall was the walks and passed balls.”

Nathan Baylot followed the bizarre play in left with a pinch-hit single up the middle to score Daigre. Steven Price then doubled to left to make it 7-2.

An error, a walk, and two passed balls chased home two more Gator runs. The lead went to 10-2 when Stanton Price singled to right, scoring Jordan Henry.

Natchez (9-14, 0-4) scored a run in its first at-bat, but Vicksburg rallied with three in the bottom of the first.

Bulldog starter Cameron Logan walked three and hit two in the inning. The lone hit was a bunt single by Henry.

VHS added a run in the second when Steven Price walked and then scored on Henry’s grounder to short.

Henry later made it 5-2 in the fourth when he singled, stole second and then scored on a wild pitch.

Mathes scattered seven hits over his six-inning outing. He struck out six and walked one. Logan allowed five hits but walked six and hit three.

The Gators were led at the plate by Henry with two hits. Steven Price doubled and scored three runs.

Natchez got a three-hit game from John Logan while Ed Johnson had two hits and two runs scored.