Green Wave avenges loss to drum Union

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; After Monday night’s surprising loss to Union, Cathedral had three days to make a decision about the fate of its postseason hopes.

The Green Wave could return flat against Union Friday, making a quick and disappointing exit or they could use the 11-4 loss as incentive to revisit the form it displayed during the regular season and in the first two games of these Class 1A first-round playoff games.

With head coach Craig Beesley calling out his seniors, Cathedral chose the latter and received an overpowering performance from senior ace Te Riley in an 11-0 shutout against the Yellow Jackets (25-8) at Chester Willis Field Friday.

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The Wave (23-4) advance to a best of three series at Mize beginning at 6 p.m. Monday. Game 2 is in Natchez at 6 p.m. Tuesday, with an if-necessary contest scheduled for Mize Thursday.

&uot;For (Riley) to come out and not only dominate on the mound but hit too, that was big,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;That’s the best performance Te’s had all year. He was ahead of batters for most of the game until those last two innings.&uot;

Coupled with his 11 strikeouts, Riley was 2 for 3 hitting.

The hero at the dish, though, was junior first baseman Preston Hicks, who saw three pitches in three at-bats and collected three base hits and five RBIs, coming a home run shy of the cycle.

Hicks’ one-out triple in the top of the second &045; Cathedral was the visiting team &045; scored the game’s first two runs; again with one out in a five-run third, Hicks went opposite field for a two-run double making it 6-0; in his last trip he laced a RBI-single to left for a 9-0 Cathedral cushion.

&uot;I’ve been struggling to get multiple hits in a game lately,&uot; Hicks said. &uot;I came out ready to play, and I think everybody was.&uot;

The Yellow Jackets’ only threat came in the fifth and final inning when Riley hit right fielder Michael Graham for the second time and Jamelle Blalock got the first and last hit off the Green Wave southpaw to give Union its only runner at second all night.

Riley, as he consistently did throughout, bore down and fanned Kyle Townsend for the first out and then ended contest when Daniel Winstead whiffed and Cathedral catcher Drew Burns gunned down Graham trying to steal third.

&uot;(Riley is) an impact kind of guy,&uot; Jackets head coach Joey Ward said. &uot;We didn’t hit him or play well. He’s a great competitor and (the Green Wave) has a bunch of them.&uot;

Unlike Monday night, Cathedral roughed up Union starter Sean Ferrell, who kept the Wave guessing earlier this week.

Ferrell surrendered eight runs on seven hits and throwing, unofficially, 84 pitches in lasting just 2 1/3 innings.

&uot;(Ferrell) didn’t have quite the pop that he had the other night. He gave us what he had,&uot; said Ward, who was hot under the collar about the number of miles his team logged this week. &uot;When we get home tonight, we would have spent 24 hours on the road. If anybody can explain the rhyme and reason to me for it I’ll listen, but I don’t think they can. We had to come all the way here, while our fourth seed (Sebastopol) drove 20 minutes to play.&uot;

Location, location, location wouldn’t have mattered the way Riley pitched, though.

The lefty mowed down five of the first six batters he faced, blazing heaters by Yellow Jacket hitters and turning them into butter with an ill breaking ball.

Riley struck four hitters twice, including Union cleanup man Wes Henry, and only allowed one ball &045; Blalock’s single &045; out of the infield in, unofficially, 74 pitches.

&uot;I had everything working for me. My fastball felt like he had a little more zip on it than usual,&uot; said Riley, who admitted the no-no was on his mind in the fifth.