Cathedral to field young team
NATCHEZ — Turner Janette can’t wait to get back to swinging the bat.
In the meantime, the Cathedral High School junior will have to deal with the frustration of not playing at the same pace as his teammates when baseball season starts next week.
Janette broke fractured his L-1 vertebrae, tore four ligaments and strained two more ligaments on his spine in a weight room accident last summer. The injury caused him to miss football season, which made baseball season a beacon of hope for Janette.
“I feel great,” he said. “In the field, I’m 100 percent, but it will probably take a few extra weeks before I can start hitting.”
Janette is scheduled to see the doctor Monday, and he said he expects to be cleared for everything except hitting.
“All it requires is me building my muscles back up,” Janette said. “I have a feeling I’ll be limited in hitting because it requires so much torque.”
Waiting on hitting is going to be frustrating, Janette said.
“It makes me super mad,” he said. “It gets on my nerves, but it could have been worse. I could not even be playing baseball. My mind is set on getting back as soon as possible.”
And this year’s team will need him, as Janette is one of the few upperclassmen on the squad. Head coach Craig Beesley said out of 22 players, 13 of them are freshmen.
“We know we’ll go through some rough times early, and I’m hoping they mature a bit,” Beesley said. “We’re looking for three of those freshmen to start regularly.”
Beesley said Austin Chauvin and Thomas Garrity will headline the starting rotation, and Alex Weadock, Sam Parker and Hayden Nunnery will also see time on the mound.
“Hopefully they’ll give us a lot of innings,” Beesley said. “Consistency in throwing strikes is the main thing.”
Chauvin, who pitched sparingly last season, said he’s looking forward to getting more time on the mound.
“I feel confident in everything,” Chauvin said. “I feel good about me and Garrity pitching and the young group behind us.”
Garrity, who became Cathedral’s No. 2 starter late in the season last year behind Blake Martin, is the likely No. 1 starter this spring. He said he was looking forward to filling in for Blake, who graduated last spring.
“Blake was an excellent pitcher, and I just have to follow in his steps,” Garrity said.
Garrity also said he realizes the team is young, but he has confidence that they can jell quickly.
“Our freshmen are strong,” he said. “I don’t think (the inexperience) will affect us too badly. They all know the game; every one of them knows baseball and is good at it.”
Beesley said the biggest challenge for the younger players will be adjusting to the speed of high school baseball.
“They’ll be playing versus kids who are three to four years older, who will be bigger and faster than them,” Beesley said. “It’s going to be an adjustment.”
Despite the youth, Chauvin said expectations are still high among he and his teammates.
“Hopefully expectations are a state championship, but we definitely want to make the playoffs,” Chauvin said. “We’re going to need to hit the ball a lot better than we’ve been doing, and we need to step up in games when given the opportunity.”
Cathedral will play a scrimmage game with Natchez High School at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Chester Willis Field.