Red-hot Wave takes five-inning win over VHS

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; No pun intended to its nickname, but the way Cathedral is peaking currently, world-class surfer Kelly Slater should be aboard.

The Green Wave is cresting taller than the mammoth breaks at Pipeline in Oahu, Hawaii.

Throughout the season almost no Division 7-1A or otherwise opponent has been able to keep Cathedral’s bats contained to a harmless ripple.

Email newsletter signup

On Thursday, Green Wave rival Vidalia &045; the two teams separated by the mighty Mississippi River &045; discovered what everybody else has learned.

Cathedral clobbered 17 hits, four of which went for extra bases, and relief pitcher Jeremy Davis helped stop some early bleeding as the Wave (18-2) prevailed 18-8 after just five innings.

The Green Wave had four hitters collected three or more hits, led by Wyler Murray’s 3 for 3 night, which left him a home run shy of the cycle.

Davis, Garrett Jones and ninth-man Andrew Ellard each finished 3 for 4.

&uot;I keep saying it after every game, but we really are swinging the bats well,&uot; Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley said. &uot;That’s not how it was early in the season when we were struggling. All I can ask for is for us to stay hot through the playoffs.&uot;

The game was a stark contrast from the two teams’ only other meeting, a 4-2 Cathedral victory during the Vidalia Tournament in March.

Thursday saw the teams combined for seven errors, as the Vikings (16-6) had a costly error in a four-run Cathedral third inning when the right fielder lost the ball in the Chester Willis Field lights.

Michael Blain’s two-out, full-count, bases-loaded bloop single off Tony Hawkins, who relieved starter Brett Hinson, scored all three runners and broke a 4-all tie to give Cathedral a 7-4 lead.

&uot;It was a high sky, and he couldn’t pick it up,&uot; Vikings head coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir said. &uot;But that was a turning point, a real crusher. The bases were loaded on a 3-2 count. But we battled back. I couldn’t complain because they played hard the whole time.&uot;

The miscue was costly, as Jones and Davis each followed with singles. Blain scored on Davis’ RBI knock into center pushing the margin out to an 8-4 Wave lead.

But as it had done after trailing 4-0 to begin the third, Vidalia fought to draw even when it stepped to the dish in the top of the fourth.

The Vikings managed just two hits but manufactured their quartet thanks to four Cathedral errors.

&uot;(Vidalia) swung the bats well early on,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;Jeremy Davis came in and did what we needed him to do. He threw strikes and our bats came alive when it was tied 8-8.

Hawkins reached base on an error by Jones at short, and then scored when Chris Ensminger singled off Wave starter Corey Walker and Davis kicked it around in center.

After Davis came in to strikeout Mac Ware, Chris Williams was hit by a curve that didn’t bend enough. With one out Ensminger scored from third off a wild pitch, making it 8-6.

After Brett Hinson reached on another Cathedral error, Jeffrey Anderson knotted it up with a bases-clearing triple to the gap in left center.

&uot;This team knows what they’re capable of,&uot; Hoffpauir said. &uot;Our defense isn’t that strong, but we have to counteract that with good pitching and at the plate. It’s a matter of come playoff time we need to be peaking.&uot;

Davis got the next batter, Graham Roberts, to fly out to center to end the inning.

Never dying down, the Wave began rolling again in their half of the fourth as they continued to time Hawkins’ breaking ball.

&uot;As a whole, not just me, we’re seeing the ball well,&uot; Ellard said. &uot;We practice real hard on hitting curves and keeping our hands back. We come to play every time.&uot;