Cathedral bounces St. Joseph

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 6, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Those two lopsided losses to Vidalia hurt Cathedral perhaps more than anyone ever knew.

The losses by a combined score of 33-7 was pretty humbling, and many on the Green Wave wouldn’t stand for it a bit. The immediate result was Friday’s 10-3 win over West Lincoln, but the Green Wave made their biggest statement Saturday with a doubleheader sweep of Franklin County and St. Joseph of Greenville.

Cathedral hammered Franklin County 16-2 and put away St. Joe 12-0. Both games lasted just five innings.

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&uot;We got beat by Vidalia the other week, and we had a long talk with the team,&uot; Cathedral first baseman Te Riley said. &uot;I think we got our heads on right. We’re getting ready for the playoffs, and we’re coming together as a team. Some of the guys got down on each other, but we finally got it together. We’re good enough to win state, and we have to prove it to everyone.&uot;

You won’t get too much of an argument from St. Joseph, who was handed its first loss of the season after starting 18-0. The Green Wave rung up six runs in the first two innings and used superb play in the field to keep the Irish off the board.

The contest may be a preview of the first round of the Class 1A playoffs if St. Aloysius beats Cathedral Thursday. The Irish arehoping for a different outcome if the matchup should occur &045; along with a Cathedral team that won’t be as sharp as it was Saturday.

&uot;They’re a heck of a team,&uot; St. Joe head coach Shane Schlicht said. &uot;They hit the ball hard. I don’t know if we made an error. They hit one of our top two pitchers. They’re a good club, and we’ll see them in the playoffs. We’ve got a heck of a year going on, and we’re going to win that district more than likely.&uot;

If you want to think back to that Vidalia game, the Green Wave hit the ball as well as the Vikings did on Wednesday. The Wave delivered line drive after line drive off St. Joe starter Max Freeman and got contributions from the bottom of the lineup.

But enough about Vidalia. The undefeated Irish was plenty motivation.

&uot;We’ve been looking forward to this game,&uot; Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley said. &uot;Being undefeated and 18-0 and being a Catholic school &045; it’s not as big a rivalry as St. Al, but it’s still a Catholic school versus a Catholic school. We’re trying to get a little respect back now. A lot of people don’t realize how good Vidalia is, but I wish we would have played better against them.&uot;

The Green Wave jumped on Freeman in the first inning with run-scoring singles from Riley and Wyler Murray. Brent Tosspon tripled in a run, and John Holleman doubled in a run. Rodney Daggett doubled in Holleman for a 6-0 lead.

The Green Wave added six in the second for the 12-0 lead. Chris Norris walked with the bases loaded for the first run, and Murray’s sacrifice fly brought home another. A double steal got another run home, and Michael Blain finished with a single that scored Tosspon and Holleman.

&uot;He (Freeman) was their hardest thrower, but it wasn’t their top pitcher,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;We hit him pretty good and were disciplined at the plate. He missed a few (curveballs) early on and got kind of rattled. When he came down the middle with it, we got good hits off him.&uot;

The Green Wave got key plays in the field behind Tosspon to keep the Irish off the board. Cathedral turned a double play in the first inning, missed another later on by a step and got a diving catch in center from Jeremy Davis in the fourth.

&uot;I think they were playing a heck of a defense,&uot; Schlicht said. &uot;I can’t tell you anything else. I don’t know how much more perfect you could play. Right now we’re 18-1, and we’re going to move on. They did a heck of a job.&uot;

Tosspon allowed just three hits, and the Irish couldn’t move Maddox in the first after he doubled with two outs. Freeman led off with a single in the third before getting forced out at second, and Tosspon later retired the eight batters he faced to shut the door.

&uot;I was pleased with our defense,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;I know we scored 12 runs and hit the ball extremely hard, but I was so pleased with our defense. Brett did a good job. Their top five hitters were some of the best hitters we’ve seen this year. That’s why I was so pleased with our defense.

&uot;Brett is going to throw strikes. It’s nothing fancy, but he’s going to do a good job for you and make them earn their way on base.&uot;

Against Franklin County, the Green Wave scored five in the first and eight in the second to break the game open. Rodney Daggett fueled the rally in the second with a home run.

Riley got the win for the Green Wave.