Riley fans 10, tosses three-hitter as Wave gets sweep

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; Mize head coach Winston Mullins didn’t need a scouting report or cross-checks from other coaches on how to pitch Cathedral.

It’s the third time in as many years his Bulldogs have run into Cathedral in the playoffs, and Tuesday’s Game 2 was no different.

&uot;That’s what I told somebody the other day &045; I’ve watched these guys grow up,&uot; Mullins said after the Green Wave took a 7-1 win to take the best-of-three series and move to the Class 1A South State championship.

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&uot;They’re a fastball-hitting team. If you throw fastballs against them, they’re going to make you pay. But we enjoy playing them. That’s what baseball is all about. They play it the right way.&uot;

Last spring the two teams met in this same situation, but that series went three before the Bulldogs took the win and moved on. Mullins and his club went on to win the state championship last year.

Now it’s the Green Wave’s turn &045; a squad that’s a step away from playing for the state title after knocking out two of the tougher teams in Class 1A. Cathedral will play the winner of the Edinburg-Greenville St. Joseph series beginning Saturday at Chester willis.

&uot;We had a tough road through the first two series,&uot; CHS head coach Craig Beesley said. &uot;Greenville won 15-3 (Monday) night and hit five home runs. Greenville was the same team we played in the first round last year. We know them well. Hopefully we can do the same thing we did last year &045; jump on them early and keep the pressure on them.&uot;

The Green Wave’s win Tuesday was done about as much of the right way as possible with left-hander Te Riley tossing another gem to get the Green Wave to the South State finals for the second time in three years.

The left-handed Riley confused a number of Mize’s hitters with either the curveball that would break down and in on right-handed batters or the fastball on the outside part of the plate.

Riley struck out 10, allowed three hits and walked one.

&uot;Te had another good performance, and we hope he can keep it going like that the rest of the year,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;Early in the game he relied on the curveball, and in the last two innings he started started that feeling that complete game, and it pumped him up. Once he got to the middle-to-bottom part of the order, he was relying mainly on his fastball.&uot;

But give credit to Riley for battling in tough spots and keeping Mize off the scoreboard. In the fifth and sixth innings the Bulldogs put a runner in scoring position with one out or less, and each time the left-hander came up with big strikeouts to ease up the defense behind him.

In the sixth Garrett Pruitt walked to lead of the game, went to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a wild pitch. But Riley got Chris Creel and Joseph Adcock on strikeouts to get out of the inning and leave Pruitt stranded at third.

The biggest jam came in the sixth when Josh Melton reached on an error to lead off and went to third on a Chris Sullivan single to put runners on the corners with no outs. Zach Jennings grounded out back to the mound, and the Green Wave got Melton in a rundown for the first out.

Riley then struck out Jacob Purser and got Al Hunt on an infield grounder to end it.

The Green Wave struggled to put together a rally against Jennings in the early innings as the game was tied 1-1 heading into the fourth thanks to a Jeremy Davis home run. But in the fourth Preston Hicks came up with a huge two-run single to score Wyler Murray and Charlie Lane to break the game open.