Current Cathedral team looks entirely different from year ago

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 13, 2003

About this time last year no one really knew what to expect out of the Cathedral Green Wave.

The Wave was low on experience and pitching while entering the Class 1A playoffs but started on a improbable run to the South State championship against St. Aloysius.

Fast forward to the present.

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There’s more pitching, much better hitting and a little more experience heading into the playoffs. There’s still that unknown factor, but this time it’s a little less defined.

The Wave opens the playoffs Wednesday against Greenville St. Joseph, a team it walloped 12-0 in five innings just two weeks ago.

&uot;That gives us a little easier feeling, but we’ve got to come out and play hard,&uot; sophomore Jeremy Davis said. &uot;We need to jump on them early and kind of get them down on themselves. We want to get them down and keep them down.&uot;

The difference in that 12-0 game and those the Wave lost were miscues in the field. In the five losses this season, the Wave had errors at critical times that led to the opponent’s netting a big inning.

That was the case Thursday in a 14-9 loss at St. Al, but Saturday against Natchez the Wave were solid in the field.

&uot;I was real pleased with our defense,&uot; Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley said.&160;&uot;Wyler Murray is starting to come back around for us at third. He’s getting some of his confidence back.

&uot;He had some throwing problems, and he made two good plays (Saturday).&uot;

The Cathedral lineup hasn’t missed much of a step this season, but the biggest spark in the past few weeks has been Michael Blain at the top of the lineup.

Blain went to the No. 1 spot two weeks ago and is hitting .700 since.

&uot;We’ve been hitting the ball ever since then,&uot; Beesley said.

MILESTONE WIN &045; You wouldn’t have known it by their reaction, but Wayne County’s War Eagles posted their first win of the year Friday over Natchez High.

Not only is their team almost all new, but they’ve got a new head coach. Former coach Joey Culotta was killed in a car wreck last summer.

Akeem Lofton, the school’s football star who will play at Mississippi State, is one of a handful of holdovers from a year ago.

&uot;I’m surprised they didn’t go crazy,&uot; said WC head coach Mike Gavin, an assistant last year. &uot;We’ve been in some ball games, but when you’re that young it takes a while get there.

&uot;We’re starting two seniors, three juniors, and the rest are sophomores and freshmen. We had a freshman at third, and we’ve been starting an eight-grader there most of the year.&uot;

Lofton, it’s worth noting, will try to catch on with the Bulldogs’ baseball team once he arrives in Starkville. Against Natchez Friday he pitched before moving to cetner where he made a diving catch to end an inning.

And &045; why does it always happen?&160;&045; he led off the next inning.

&uot;That doesn’t surprise me that much any more,&uot; Gavin said of Lofton’s catch. &uot;He’ll play anywhere we need him to play.&uot;

BIGGEST PLAY &045; Even after surrendering a 10-run inning Thursday at St. Al, the Green Wave stormed back to make a game out of it before the Flashes got a big play to end the threat.

Brent Tosspon struck out before the ball went to the backstop, and Chris Norris broke for the plate.

Catcher Rob Jones, however, tagged Norris at the helmet for the double play and the third out of the inning.

&uot;We gave them the last out at the plate,&uot; Beesley said.&160;&uot;He saw the ball get by the catcher and took off. That was a crucial play because that would have allowed us to get the top of the order up in the seventh instead of (Nos.) 8, 9 and 1.&uot;