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Brookhaven Academy wallops Trinity Saints in five innings

NATCHEZ – You can point out the eighth- and ninth-graders in thefield for Trinity Episcopal and kind of get an idea of how thingswere to go this season in Class AA.

But those are excuses, and head coach Matt Mason won’t stand forit. The Saints dropped their fourth District 4-AA contest in asmany tries Monday with a 13-3 loss to Brookhaven Academy in sixinnings at Chester Willis.

The Saints have been competitive and solid both at the plate andin the field at times this season – including Friday’s 7-6,10-inning loss to Centreville – but struggled again Monday.

“Routine fly balls are no excuse if you’re 6 or 26,” Mason said.”You’ve got to catch routine fly balls, and we didn’t tonight. Itcost us about five runs. We haven’t had a lot of chances topractice. Hopefully the weather will hold off for us and we’ll getto practice.

“I may need some Doan’s backache pills from hitting so many flyballs, but we’ll work on them. Our playoff chances are pretty muchshot, but our goal is to spoil it for somebody else.”

The Saints ended the game with six errors, but that figurecombined with the Cougars’ 11 hits and Trinity’s two hits and 11strikeouts off Brookhaven pitching left little result for theoutcome. The Saints put up two runs in the first inning afterBrookhaven scored four, but Cole Hodges and Corey Dickerson keptthe Saints from doing any damage at the plate.

Hodges went five while striking out eight, and Dickerson fannedthe side in the sixth to end it.

“It’s always good when you have a lead to work with,” Hodgessaid. “You know you’re going to have run support. I was keepingthem off balance with the breaking pitches. I had better command ofmy curveball than I normally do. I probably threw 35 curveballs in85 pitches and kept them off balance.”

Give the Cougars credit for making solid contact and notstriking out much against Trinity pitchers Matthew Freeman and KyleDunaway. They went down swinging only three times, had two-runsingles in the fourth and sixth innings and put up four in thesixth to end it early.

Jeremy Winborne singled off Dunaway to score Cole Hodges andDickerson for the 13-3 lead. The Saints, though, didn’t have errorsin that inning after every inning the Cougars scored in prior tothen was buoyed by a Trinity error.

“Matthew is just a freshman, and he doesn’t throw extremelyhard,” Mason said. “I felt like if we made the plays behind him,they score six runs instead of 13 and we have a chance. We gavethem some outs, and you can’t do that against good ball teams. Somesituations are tough for young players, but we’ve got to startstepping up and making plays in those situations.”

The Cougars picked up four in the first with the Saintscommitting an error and two more in the second with two Trinityerrors. Hodges led off the game by reaching on an error and scoredon a Winborne single.

Winborne reached in the second when a fly ball fell in, and hescored on a passed ball. Keith Franklin later struck out butreached when the ball got away from the catcher and the throw tofirst went high.

Paul Davis then singled Franklin in for a 6-2 lead.

Hodges, meanwhile, kept a steady dose of breaking pitches atTrinity while the lead continued to build. The Saints picked up twoin the first inning when Freeman singled in Clint Easom andDunaway, but they couldn’t get another hit after the first.

The Saints got a run in the third when Stevan Ridley walked,stole second and later scored on a wild pitch.

“Our pitching staff works well together,” Brookhaven head coachStephen Cooksey said. “They’re very unselfish. We threw a lot ofbreaking balls at them, and I really thought Cole’s control wasgood tonight. We didn’t have a lot of walks and had a lot ofstrikes.

“I thought our catcher (Chris Falvey) really did a good job withus throwing a lot of breaking pitches in the dirt and things likethat. Corey came in and did a good job of closing it down.”

The Saints had a baserunner in the fourth when Kyle Ketchingsled off with a walk, but Hodges retired the next three in order.Freeman walked on four pitches in the sixth, but that’s whenCooksey brought in Dickerson to finish game out.

Freeman went to second on a wild pitch and was leftstranded.

“Their pitcher did an excellent job, but I was very disappointedin the way we battled at the plate,” Mason said. “We’ve battled atthe plate this year, but I was disappointed in our at-bats tonight.(Hodges) was able to get his breaking ball over for strikes andearly in the count, and it made his fastball that much better.We’ve been doing well on two-strike hitting, but we didn’t do agood job of that at all.”