Rematch set as Cathedral draws St. Joe

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Te Riley wasn’t here at this time last year.

He spent most of his sophomore season nursing an elbow injury while playing sparingly for Adams County Christian School before the season ended at the district tournament.

Now he’s with the Cathedral Green Wave, a team that is looking for another deep run in the Class 1A playoffs after last year’s squad came a game away from the state championship.

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And he’s taking to the hype.

&uot;It seems like everyone is expecting us to go real far in the playoffs,&uot; Riley said. &uot;We’re just hoping to win state. It feels like the season is starting over a little bit. It’s always exciting being able to contend for a championship. We seem to be real ready to play.&uot;

The Green Wave open the playoffs at 6 p.m. today at St. Joseph of Greenville in a best-of-three series. Game 2 is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Chester Willis Field, and Game 3 would be at Greenville if necessary with a time to be determined.

All games will be broadcast on 97.3 FM.

The Green Wave will face a 21-1 Fighting Irish team it bounced 12-0 two weeks ago in Natchez. And it wasn’t that the Irish made a bunch of errors or had to throw their No. 4 or 5 pitcher.

The Wave hit the ball that day &045; something it’s done well for the last to weeks.

&uot;The last couple of games we’ve kind of been playing together more and understanding our roles a little bit more,&uot; third baseman Wyler Murray said. &uot;We kind of come together at the beginning of the playoffs. That’s when it all starts. I think (playing St. Joe again) is to our advantage since we played so well against them the first time. If we score on them real quick, they might remember the first time.&uot;

The biggest difference in that game and games the Wave lost of late has been miscues in the field. Errors were brutal to Cathedral in a 14-9 loss to St. Aloysius Thursday after a 10-run inning propelled the Flashes to the win.

Going into this series &045; and the playoffs in general &045; defense is the X factor for the Wave.

&uot;All the coaches of that district have said their top five hitters are the best they’ve seen,&uot; Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley said. &uot;I know they’ve got a good-hitting team, but we’re hoping we can limit the number of times they get up to hit. I feel like we’ll be able to avoid the big inning because we’re hoping we can get the bottom of their order out. I feel like we’ll go up there and play a solid defensive game.&uot;

If there’s any evidence of the consequences, Murray just points at that game against the Flashes. Take away that one big inning, and the Green Wave would have won handily and be pitted against Ethel in the opening round of the playoffs.

&uot;All the errors happen at bad times,&uot; he said. &uot;And all bad things happen at once. If we just avoid that one bad inning, we’ll play pretty well.&uot;

The Green Wave bats will go up against St. Joe’s top starter after hammering No. 2 starter Max Freeman in the first outing. Freeman may throw Thursday.

Cathedral, meanwhile, will come with Riley today for the opener with a number other pitchers ready to go Saturday.

&uot;I’ve got four or five pitchers I’ve got confidence in to put out there,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;I’m not sure who we’ll bring in (in relief). I’m hoping to get a complete game out of Te.&uot;