CHS rallies in seventh, walks off in eighth vs. Nanih Waiya
NATCHEZ — The plan going in was to score runs early, but Cathedral High School fell behind 4-0, so a new plan was needed.
Turns out, plan B — scoring runs late — worked out just fine.
Down 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh, Cathedral came storming back to tie Game 2 of their playoff series with Nanih Waiya High School 6-6, then a walkoff base on balls in the eighth inning kept the Green Wave’s season alive Saturday afternoon with a 7-6 win.
“We’ll take (runs) anytime we can get them,” Green Wave head coach Craig Beesley said afterward.
Turner Janette played the role of walkoff hero for Cathedral, and he didn’t even need to lift the bat off his shoulders. Warriors reliever Ty Higginbotham struggled with his control in the bottom of the eighth, issuing walks to Kyle Bradley, Austin Chauvin and Zach Flattmann to load the bases before Janette came up to bat.
“I was thinking, ‘Don’t strike out, get on base, (sacrifice) fly, anything — just get the runner in and win the game,” Janette said.
And when ball four crossed the plate, Janette and the rest of his teammates leaped in excitement as Bradley came home to give Cathedral the win and force a Game 3 with Nanih Waiya.
“I knew (it was a ball),” Janette said of the final pitch. “I took off to first — and made sure I touched it. We made a great comeback, and we’ve given ourselves another chance.”
Things looked bleak for Cathedral heading into the bottom of the seventh, but Beesley challenged his players to rise to the occasion with them being three outs away from their season ending.
“I said, ‘Are y’all going to roll over and play dead, or are we going to fight and see if we can get back in this game?’, and they did,” Beesley said.
Chauvin got things started with an RBI single that scored Thomas Garrity, and Bradley then came home on an error to cut the Warriors’ lead to 6-3. A Hayden Nunnery single scored Chauvin, and Zac Flattmann came home when a pickoff attempt to second base sailed into the outfield. Ty Brown tied the game up 6-6 on a bases-loaded walk, sending the game into extra innings.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the third inning when the Warriors took a 4-0 lead. They scored another run in the fifth inning Wyatt Ball came around on a fielding error, making it 5-0 Nanih Waiya.
“We had our chances early in the game. We hit the ball well throughout the whole game, we just couldn’t put runs on the board,” Beesley said of his team’s early inning struggles.
The Green Wave finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when J.J. Jenkins came home on a wild pitch. But Nanih Waiya got the run back in the top of the seventh when Ball scored on an RBI single.
Luke Rosamond got the start for the Warriors, giving up six runs on 11 hits to earn a no-decision. Cathedral’s Sam Parker pitched the first five innings for the Green Wave, yielding five runs — four earned — on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Alex Weadock pitched an inning of relief for Cathedral, giving up one run on one hit with two walks and a strikeout.
Garrity got the win for Cathedral, pitching the final two innings of the game. Despite going seven innings in Game 1 Thursday, Garrity was effective for the Green Wave, limiting Nanih Waiya to one hit and two walks.
With Game 3 coming up Monday, Beesley said the walkoff win should give his players some momentum.
“The momentum is definitely in our favor now,” Beesley said. “We’ve gone through a lot of pitchers in the first two games, but as long as you can get to Game 3, you can throw anybody out there and get a couple of innings out of them.
“The thing about it is, we’re still playing. We haven’t packed the equipment up, we’re going up there Monday, and we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Cathedral (15-9) will play at 6 p.m. Monday at Nanih Waiya.