Cathedral clicks in Game 2 win to land playoff series sweep

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; A disappointing end to a promising season for St. Joseph’s of Greenville left head coach Shane Schlicht just shaking his head.

The Fighting Irish finished the season 20-3 with all three losses coming at the hands of Cathedral. And after his club lost 12-5 Thursday to get swept in the opening round of the Class 1A playoffs, Schlicht could pinpoint the difference.

&uot;They’re older, and we’re younger,&uot; he said. &uot;In two years we’re going to win the state championship. Cathedral will win a state championship this year. Does this paper go to St. Al? Nobody is going to beat Cathedral. They’re too good. All you have to do is watch what they do. It’s a shame we had to play in the first round. The two best teams are here tonight.&uot;

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The Green Wave played almost as solid a game as it did during its 12-0 win over St. Joe in Natchez two weeks ago. This time the Wave got a solid start on the mound from Chris Norris, who allowed just two hits in the first four innings while CHS bats gave him a five-run lead after the second inning, before Brent Tosspon finished it off.

Norris, who is still working toward the commanding form he had during last year’s playoff run, used his fastball early to set up a sharp breaking ball that had the Irish bats guessing early on.

&uot;I felt like I had it the first three innings or so,&uot; Norris said. &uot;After that I started getting a little tired and over-throwing. My fastball started going high, and my curveball &045; I couldn’t get it up. Brent came in and finished up real well, and everybody hit the ball real well. I just wanted to finish out the inning. I need to just keep working on just being able to throw seven innings without getting tired.&uot;

Norris held the Irish off balance in the first four innings, and Cathedral broke for four runs in the first and two in the second to take the commanding lead. It was just the right plan against a team that experienced its losses only to Cathedral.

Jeremy Davis doubled in Michael Blain for the first run, and Garrett Jones scored on a Te Riley sacrifice fly. Wyler Murray singled in Davis, and Norris scored on a Andrew Kaiser sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead.

Jones and Davis scored in the second inning on a sacrifice fly and an error.

&uot;We had them down because you could tell they were a different team up there than here,&uot; said Davis, who had two doubles and scored four runs.

&uot;They had a little more get-up up there. That (early scoring) gave us some confidence, and it may have given them a feeling that it could happen again. But they did a good job of coming back.&uot;

Norris started to labor in the fifth, and the Irish got two runs thanks to doubles from Travis Webster and Matt Chism. Ben Maddox singled in Chism to cut the lead to 9-3 before Norris got cleanup hitter Anthony Palasini to strike out to end the inning.

&uot;He looked good early in the game,&uot; Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley said. &uot;I thought about taking him out there in the fifth inning, but I let him finish it off. Being that Te pitched last night and throwing in the mid-80s and Chris tonight, it really had them off balance up there. He’s getting better every week. He just needs some innings. He’s pitched about 17 innings this year.&uot;

Norris helped his own cause a bit in the Wave’s three-run fourth as he mashed a solo homer for a 9-1 lead. Prior to that the Wave called for a double steal with Jones on third and Davis on first, and the throw to second went into center field to allow both runners to score.

&uot;Eighth-graders and ninth-graders,&uot; Schlicht said. &uot;They took advantage of it, and that’s because they’re an older team. But it’s a good experience for our team to play an older club like that.&uot;

Cathedral tacked on three runs in the sixth as Riley and Murray each doubled home a run and Tosspon singled home a run for a 12-3 lead.

St. Joe tacked on two runs off Tosspon in the seventh inning when Ben Maddox doubled in Freeman and Layne Boyan. But Rodney Daggett made a diving catch in right field on a ball hit by Palasini to end it.

&uot;We hit the ball well tonight,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;We kind of jumped on them early, but we kind of went to sleep in the fourth and fifth innings. Then we came back and put a few more on the board. I was kind of disappointed we lost our focus in the fourth and fifth innings.&uot;