Cathedral, Natchez in key division contests today as baseball hits stretch run for Miss-Lou clubs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 1, 2004

There’s just something about Cathedral baseball and Bazinsky Field in Vicksburg.

And whatever it is, CHS head coach Craig Beesley doesn’t like it.

It’s been since the mid 1990s since the Green Wave beat rival St. Aloysius in Vicksburg, and it’s eaten away at the team and its fan base ever since. The rivalry is heated enough, but the last couple times the Green Wave has played at Bazinsky things just have a knack for going wrong for the visitors and right for the home team.

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The Green Wave will play at Bazinsky at 5 p.m. today.

&uot;It’s been a while,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;We had some bad games. We’ve given them a few in the last couple of years. We’ve had one bad inning when we go up there, and hopefully we can correct that (today). Play solid defense and throw strikes &045; that’s going to be the keys to the game. It’ll be big for us to win on their field if we can pull it off.&uot;

Bad innings have left the Green Wave looking up at a deficit on the scoreboard in its last two trips there. Last year the Flashes put together a 10-run third inning en route to a 14-9 win, and in 2002 in Game 3 of the South State championship the Green Wave had four errors in a three-run fifth to allow the Flashes to take a 7-4 win.

It’s in the minds of the coaches, although last year’s St. Al team lost a good chunk of seniors and may be in a rebuilding mode of sorts. But that’s just what people are guessing, and you never really know what’s going to happen when Cathedral and St. Al square off.

The Flashes were supposed to be down in football this past fall, but they came to Natchez and beat Cathedral.

&uot;I haven’t heard anything concrete,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;I’ve heard from a couple of different coaches they’re hitting is not what it has been but they’re still a scrappy team. I’m sure this will be for first place. That’s the way it’s been the last three years.&uot;

At least the game comes at a point where the Green Wave feels better about its productivity at the plate. It’s been the biggest nemesis so far for a team that usually hits the ball just as good as anybody in this area, but on Saturday against Crowville at the Vidalia tournament the Green Wave made solid contact throughout the contest, got key hits and didn’t have a strikeout.

The bottom of the lineup triggered most of the run production with Andrew Kaiser slapping three doubles.

&uot;We’re ready to come out of the slump,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;It’s about time for us to come out. Te Riley hit three balls pretty hard, but they just went right at people. Wyler Murray had two other balls that could have easily been hits. They’re going to come down, and when they do they’re going to make us that much better.&uot;

Riley, meanwhile, will likely start today on the mound.

Vicksburg at Natchez High

Jason Hayes was frustrated. He has been struggling at the plate, Natchez High head coach Charlie Williams opted to sit the senior to try and get him back on track and Hayes called his dad and told him not to even come to the Bulldogs’ game at St. Aloysius that day.

As a result, he’s been on a tear ever since at the No. 7 hole in the lineup.

Hayes has 10 hits in the Bulldogs’ last three games and is hitting .458, and they’ll need his hitting and the others when they host Vicksburg today in the division opener.

&uot;I’m real pleased with Jason Hayes’ hitting right now,&uot; Williams said. &uot;He’s worked his way back up to the top in the top four. He’s been working real hard in the cage. I think after (he sat) he came back a little more focused hitting. That’s where most of the hitting is coming from &045; the 6, 7 and 8 holes. We’ve got to get some production out of the top to get some people on to get something done.&uot;

But like Hayes, the Bulldogs may have just needed a time to refocus. The senior-laden bunch has played well at times this year but let things get away in a 13-1 loss to Brookhaven on Saturday.

The game was marred by errors, walks and hit batsmen, and it may have just woke everyone up a bit.

&uot;We’re going in with a positive frame of mind,&uot; Williams said. &uot;We just hope we can play good defense. If we play good defense, we stand a chance of staying in the game with them. We talked about things we had done wrong and worked hard to try and correct it. The pitching has not done a bad job. Giving up five hits against a club like Brookhaven, I think they did an outstanding job.&uot;

Parklane at ACCS

While it’s true in saying each series is just as big as the next in District 2-AAA, this one holds more importance than the others. The Rebels dropped two of three to Central Private in the first series of the season, and they sure can’t afford to get through the second one with just two or three district wins.

So the pressure is on now &045; and they still have Hillcrest, Copiah, Lamar and Jackson Prep to play.

&uot;This is a huge series for us and them,&uot; AC head coach Gill Morris said. &uot;This could be pivotal. This series could have really some repercussions as late as late April. (Parklane) always has a pretty solid team. They run the bases well, and they love to go to the opposite side when they get two strikes on them.&uot;

The Rebels, who have already knocked off three ranked teams in MPSA, won’t have to face former Pioneers ace Rusty Rayborn this week since he moved on to Delta State after last year. But now Blake Robinson has stepped into the position of ace for the Pioneers and will likely go today against an AC lineup that’s trying to find a rhythm at the plate.

Trinity at WCCA

It’s back to district play for the Saints, who lost the 7-A opener last week to Amite School Center. But at least now the Saints have a win under their belts after downing Brookhaven Academy over the weekend at the Parklane tournament.

Now it’s just a matter of finding that baseball consistency.

&uot;We’re starting to swing the bats better,&uot; Trinity head coach Matt Mason said. &uot;We put the ball in play better the last two games, and that’s given us a chance to win. We can’t have 16 strikeouts and expect be in the ball game. We’ve been inconsistent mostly as a team. Our defense is getting better.&uot;