Wave blasts Flashes to lock up division crown
Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004
NATCHEZ &045; Honestly, Joe Graves knew this was going to be a tough season.
Not that it’s been a forgettable one, but the St. Aloysius head coach hadn’t been on the receiving end of two 10-run-rule losses in one season to Cathedral in quite some time.
The second one came Friday when the Green Wave got a couple key hits and took advantage of six errors for a 12-2 win in five innings.
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It gave the Green Wave the division championship to earn the right to host the opening-round four-team tournament to start the playoffs. If there’s something special going on with a team that probably has a better chance of going far than in the last two seasons, this may be it.
&uot;I think with Cathedral &045; they’ve got the talent and pitching to win the whole show,&uot; Graves said. &uot;If they can get by Mize. I’m hoping to face them again (in the playoffs), and we’ll hopefully give them a better show at it. I’m not used to this. We’ve got to rebuild and get some kids to where they can be competitive.&uot;
The Green Wave aren’t used to laying a KO down on the Flashes, either. The two teams split last season before the Flashes took a best-of-three series against Cathedral for the South State title in 2002.
All were tight affairs. But much like everyone else in the division, the Flashes weren’t much of a match.
&uot;We’re hot right now,&uot; said junior Jeremy Davis, who smacked a three-run homer in the first. &uot;We’re hoping to keep it going coming into the playoffs. But it definitely feels good. That was a big game (11-0 up there). We hadn’t 10-run-ruled St. Al &045; I don’t remember ever since I was here.
&uot;Since then we’ve been hot. And our pitching is doing a real good job.&uot;
The Green Wave, playing in its third game in three days, didn’t really blister St. Al starter Marsh Willis but put the ball in play consistent enough to make things happen. Willis threw all five and served up a steady dose of curveballs, and the Wave finished the game with seven hits but no strikeouts.
But it may confirm Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley’s suspicion of how people are going to pitch his team &045; lots of junk, no fastballs down broadway and let the defense play.
&uot;I knew before the game he was going to throw,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;He’s a curveball pitcher, but I didn’t know it would be that many curveballs. I think that’s going to be constant come playoff time. People are going to start throwing offspeed slow, slower and slower. It gave us trouble early in the game.
&uot;That pitcher threw 90 percent curveballs, and I’m not exaggerating that.&uot;
Davis, however, got on one curveball up in the zone and got the best of it. While the curveballs made the Green Wave pound a number of pitches in the dirt for groundouts, Davis got his club on the board in the first inning with a mammoth home run.
Davis put it over the left field fence, and the ball bounced off the pavement and landed in the fenced-in yard of the armory.
&uot;He hung a curveball inside on me,&uot; Davis said. &uot;On the first pitch he’d been throwing curveballs consistently to every batter. He hung it, and I made good contact on it.&uot;
Other than that, the Green Wave kept putting it in play with a couple nice shots here and there. In the second the Wave put up three runs on three hits, two of them infield singles.
The Flashes, however, hurt their own cause with two errors. Drew Burns reached on an error and scored, and Garrett Jones scored on another error.
&uot;(Willis) is doing a good job, but we haven’t supported him,&uot; Graves said. &uot;When nobody is making a play for you, it gets you frustrated and gets you down. He’s doing the things we need to make things happen to keep us in the ball game. But we’ve got seniors and juniors just not making plays. There’s no excuse for that.&uot;
The Green Wave got a run in the third and fourth before getting four in the fifth thanks to two errors to end the game. It was plenty enough support for Corey Walker, who threw a gem on the mound while fanning 10 and allowing just three hits.
The Flashes got two home in the second when Rob Jones tripled in a run and Dustin Jones doubled him in, but Walker settled down after that. The hard-throwing sophomore retired the next 11 he faced, seven of which went down on strikeouts.
&uot;Corey got it going that third inning,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;He got a little adrenaline going, I guess you can say. His fastball was going pretty good. It looked like they were just guessing at the plate. He was getting the fastball by them, and they were swinging at that curveball in the dirt. Drew Burns did a good job behind the plate.&uot;