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Brookhaven splits double header with Natchez

Brookhaven’s Panthers feel out strike zone for 7-3 win in first game…

Brookhaven High’s Panthers took down Natchez’s Bulldogs 7-3 Tuesday night in the first game of a double-header scheduled last-minute due to impending weather.

Brookhaven came in with high hopes, but with a district record of 3-0, they knew Natchez could potentially be a challenging team to beat. The Panthers needed a double victory to secure a safer spot in the district playoffs.

“In the first game, we came out ready to play and do what we were supposed to do,” said junior pitcher Sevante Quinn. “We’ll take this win in a stride and do what we can in the next game.”

It was a fundamentally sound performance from the Panthers in the first game of the night. The first two innings consisted of a single run in each from senior second baseman Tyler Mixon and senior leftfielder Logan Emfinger. The two runs gave the Panthers an early lead of 2-0 they were able to ride well into the later parts of the game.

The stickler for Brookhaven was the fact they were hitting the ball, but the hits consisted of shots being hit right to the Natchez players for easy outs.

“Everything was going well,” Mixon said. “We were right where we needed to be for a double-header scenario.”

The Natchez pitcher was being slowly worn down by the fifth inning, and the Panthers saw their opening. Brookhaven finally got a feel for the strike zone and began to lay down some solid base hits. Ole Brook cranked out five more runs before the end of the game and ultimately clinched the victory.

“This is the team we have to beat, and all that was going through my head in this first game was playoffs,” said junior catcher Jacob Porter. “Getting that first round playoffs bypass is pivotal.”

A solid effort and well-executed gameplay from the Panthers elevated their spirit and gave them momentum heading into the second game of the double-header.

“We prepared for 14 innings, and we left a lot out there on the field,” said Coach Matt White. “We have to keep winning and doing what we need to do.”

Junior third-baseman Corbin Falvey, sophomore center-fielder Byrion Robinson and Emfinger each scored one run. Mixon and senior right-fielder Gatson Walker both scored two runs. Mixon, senior first-baseman Trace Owens, Walker and Robinson each singled. Mixon, Falvey, Walker and Robinson all hit doubles. Quinn pitched all seven innings.

Junior Paul Hargrave and senior Tra Davis pitched for Natchez.

… but lose 5-3 to Natchez Bulldogs on triple play heartbreaker in game 2

Ole Brook only had enough fuel in the tank for one win against Natchez Tuesday night, losing the double-header’s second game 5-3 in a wild, last-second finish.

Coming off a win in the first game, Brookhaven hoped for the same result. At the bottom of the last inning, Natchez was ahead by two runs. Brookhaven managed to place two runners on base with no outs, and the Panthers were hopeful.

Unfortunately for BHS, the game ended in a heartbreaking and rare triple play that left everyone stunned.

“That one play didn’t define our entire game play tonight,” said junior right-fielder Sevante Quinn. “The game started way before that, and we got behind and didn’t answer to adversity well.”

Fatigue set in for both teams around the fourth inning of the second game. The Panthers couldn’t quite get their bats rolling or match the hits they had in the first game. Once they were down, they just couldn’t claw their way back up.

“We couldn’t execute, and we couldn’t wake up. We thought too less of the other team,” said senior second baseman and pitcher Tyler Mixon. “Losing to them is a very humbling experience, and we will treat every team we play from this day forward like the New York Yankees.”

The Bulldogs changed pitchers twice in the last two innings after walking several players and allowing a run. It seemed to be a turning point for BHS. With a two-point lead and two Panther runners on base, the Bulldogs became noticeably worried. Although things were looking up for Brookhaven, Natchez clenched the victory with an outstanding triple play.

“We didn’t come prepared, and we saw them as a weak opponent. We let them get out ahead of us early,” said senior catcher Jacob Porter. “We sat down when they were up, and we just let them take the game from us.”

Splitting the night is not exactly what the Panthers wanted, but they are still sitting pretty going into the playoffs. However, Brookhaven does have another opportunity against Natchez in two weeks for any unfinished business.

“This was a tough loss for us tonight, but we have to give credit to Natchez. They made the plays they had to do to win,” said Coach Matt White. “It’s our first loss in the district, so that makes us tied with Natchez. We have to go back to their place on the 13th [of April], focus on getting the ‘W’ and ultimately take district.”

Mixon scored one run, while sophomore center-fielder Byrion Robinson scored two runs. Senior pitcher and first baseman Trace Owens, Robinson and senior left fielder Logan Emfinger each hit singles. Porter hit two singles and a double. Robinson also hit a double. Owens pitched the first four innings and had five strikeouts. Mixon pitched the last three innings and had four strikeouts.

Senior Tra Davis, junior Paul Hargrave and senior Jatavis Melton pitched for Natchez. Melton, senior Shavokee Herrington, sophomore Jakel Barnes, junior Jamel Myles and freshman Travon Henry each added a run to their final score.

Brookhaven will host Forest Hill on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Stories by Paden Phillips