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Familiar foe to face Cathedral

NATCHEZ — Cathedral High School baseball coach Craig Beesley and the Green Wave players are quite familiar with today’s opponent.

The Green Wave are set to face off against Nanih Waiya High School today to begin a best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association playoff series. The Warriors have ended Cathedral’s season the past two years en route to a state championship, and Beesley said nothing is secret when it comes to Nanih Waiya.

“There’s not much of a scouting report we’ll need,” Beesley said. “They only graduated two players from last year’s team, so we know it’s going to take a good effort from us.”

After getting eliminated by Nanih Waiya in back-to-back seasons, Beesley acknowledged that the players might have a bull’s eye on the Warriors. But Beesley cautioned that he didn’t want his players getting too caught up in the past.

“You’d like to think these kids will be ready for someone that put them out for two years, but you don’t want them to get too psyched up,” Beesley said. “You want them to be level-headed.”

Senior shortstop Kyle Bradley also said he knows what to expect from Nanih Waiya — and the players are ready to try to end the cycle of elimination at the Warriors’ hands.

“They had good pitchers last year, and I don’t think they lost any of them,” Bradley said. “Our attitude is good right now. Everyone is pumped up and ready to play.”

Beesley criticized his team following a Game 1 win against Resurrection Catholic Thursday in last week’s playoff series, saying he didn’t think they were mentally prepared to play. But the Green Wave rebounded with an 11-2 win Saturday to advance, and Beesley said he liked what he saw from his team over the weekend.

“I thought we played with a lot more intensity and energy on Saturday,” Beesley said.

Now, the Green Wave need to carry that intensity over into this week’s series, he added.

“We’re going to have to get something going early,” Beesley said. “That’s going to be key for us. We also have to hold them down and not let them score a lot of runs on us. Their pitching is good, so we might not get a lot of chances on offense. When we do, we have to take advantage and get timely hits.”

One of those pitchers, Colby Evans, is a Dandy Dozen player, and Beesley said his hitters would have their hands full with Evans.

“He’s a big kid, he throws hard and he has good control,” Beesley said. “I think last year we caught him after he pitched a 10-inning game the night before, but this time they haven’t played in a week and a half, so I feel like he’s going to be on top of his game.”

Cathedral will start Thomas Garrity tonight to counter Evans, and Game 2’s starter will depend on how deep Garrity goes into the game, Beesley said.

“Sam Parker, Austin Chauvin, Alex Weadock and Pate Shirley could all see action,” he said.

Game 1 is scheduled for 4 p.m. today at Nanih Waiya. Game 2 is set for 5 p.m. Thursday in Natchez, and Game 3, if necessary, will be at 5 p.m. Friday at Nanih Waiya.