Liberty Park streak is on the line

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 9, 2000

You have to go back before 1980 to find the last time a baseball playoff game was not played at Liberty Park. Every year since then, the venerable park has been host to a playoff game, and sometimes three, with South Natchez, Natchez and Cathedral all making the playoffs in 1988.

Cathedral faced Choctaw Central, North Natchez met Laurel and South Natchez took on Long Beach that year.

But that impressive streak is on the line and this week will tell the tale of whether postseason play will take place at Chester Willis Field.

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Natchez High currently has three district losses, but the Bulldogs can clinch second place in Division 6-5A with a win at Jim Hill Tuesday.

Both teams have 2-3 records.

Natchez lost to Jim Hill here, but is playing much better ball now, losing two tough contests in the last two days to Loyd Star and Warren Central.

Cathedral’s quest for a playoff spot is not as clear cut.

The Green Wave lost to St. Andrews and Loyd Star in Division 6-2A play. St. Andrews completed a sweep of Loyd Star Friday, thus giving Cathedral a chance to gain a playoff berth this week.

Cathedral hosts St. Andrews Tuesday before visiting Loyd Star Friday.

A sweep would put the Green Wave into the playoffs. A loss to St. Andrews Tuesday would probably mean that Cathedral would have to beat Loyd Star by at least 12 runs unless another tiebreaker is used.

Loyd Star beat Cathedral 12-1 at Loyd Star.

&uot;It’s like we’re starting the playoffs a week early,&uot; said Cathedral coach Ken Beesley. &uot;If we win, we keep playing.&uot;

The last time Cathedral did not make the playoffs was in 1987 when only one team from each district advanced to the playoffs.

Cathedral and Loyd Star had the same district record that year, but because the Hornets had more wins outside division play, they earned the berth.

Loyd Star scored three runs in the seventh inning to defeat Cathedral 4-3 that year to force a tie in the district.

In 1980, Loyd Star defeated Cathedral 7-6 to beat out the Greenies for district.

The last five years, Natchez High and Cathedral both advanced to the playoffs.

In 1994, Cathedral hosted Sebastopol in the first round, while Natchez missed out on the playoffs.

In 1992, Cathedral hosted St. Aloysius, while in ’93, the Green Wave took on Mercy Cross in what would be one of the better postseason rivalries of the ’90s.

In 1991, it was Cathedral versus Noxapater in the first round.

In 1990, Natchez lost to Warren Central at Hinds Community College in a tiebreaker game, but Cathedral hosted Stringer in the first round.

That was the first year for Natchez High to compete after North and South consolidated.

In 1989, North faced Oak Grove, while Cathedral took on Pisgah in the first round.

All three schools made it in 1988. The year before, South Natchez was the lone public school in Natchez to make the playoffs.

Cathedral won its first state championship in 1982.

South Natchez won two states titles in the 1970s, but missed the playoffs in the mid-1970s in a loss to McComb.

Joey Martin is sports editor of The Democrat. He can be reached by calling 446-5172 ext. 232 or at