Cathedral defeats Loyd Star 6-1 and Natchez 11-1 Saturday
NATCHEZ — A 6-1 victory against Loyd Star High School followed by an 11-1 win against Natchez High School in five innings culminated the belief that Cathedral High School’s defensive woes are far behind them.
Cathedral coach Craig Beesley said he was most pleased with his defense, acknowledging the team’s struggles early on in the season. He was even more satisfied to see Gabe Smith and Pate Shirley command dominant performances on the mound.
“I thought Gabe and Pate threw pretty well for us,” Beesley said. “They both got ahead in the count, and that’s important when you’re playing bigger teams on the weekend.”
Smith pitched all five innings against Natchez, striking out 11 and allowing one run on a wild pitch.
Natchez’s Shavoke Herrington led the game off with a double and crossed home plate following Smith’s wild pitch.
“We got off to a good start in that first inning, and then the wheels fell off,” said Natchez head coach Brian Kossum.
Herrington was the first of four Natchez pitchers in Saturday’s contest, and he gave up one earned run in one inning pitched.
Cathedral’s Craig Bradley had one of his two RBI-singles in the first inning. Bradley would finish the day going 5-for-6 (3-for-3 versus Natchez).
Three Natchez errors, four wild pitches, timely Cathedral hitting and a stellar pitching performance from Smith led to the 10-run rule victory for Cathedral.
“We’ve got to do better defensively,” Kossum said. “This season, we’ve hit well, pitched well or played well defensively, and we’re not putting them all together. When we do that, that’s when you’ll see the difference.”
The Bulldogs are 1-7 on the season following the loss.
Cathedral did not commit any errors against Natchez and had its only error of the day in the seventh inning against Loyd Star.
“These kids have played a lot of ball together, and they seem to be jelling,” Beesley said. “The team unity has gotten so much better in the last two weeks and hopefully that carries over for us.”
Shirley pitched a complete game against Loyd Star, striking out three and giving up one earned run in seven innings. Andrew Beesley went 2-for-3 with two singles against the Hornets.
Following both victories Saturday, Cathedral improved 13-3 on the year. All Green Wave eyes now turn to a pivotal showdown Tuesday at 7 p.m. with a chance of winning district on the line.
If Cathedral beats St. Aloysius Tuesday or Friday, Cathedral will capture its fifth win in district, making them the district champions.
“We’ve done everything that we’ve wanted up to this point,” Beesley said. “Now, it’s time to take care of business against St. Aloysius. We want to win at home. We want to make sure we take advantage of everything we can Tuesday night.”