It’s Official: Bats steal spotlight at AAA all-stars

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 5, 2004

It has been often said that pitching dominates the game of high school baseball, but Saturday’s MPSA AAA All-Star game at Mississippi College saw the hitters take over.

Despite the South winning 15-12, MVP awards for both teams went to pitchers.

Chad Crosswhite from MRA won the North’s award, and Adams Christian’s Glenn Williams won for the victorious South squad.

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Williams not only came to the mound in the seventh inning and closed down a North rally that had tied the score, but he also had a pair of hits, including a two-run single in the eighth that climaxed a five-run spurt, which put the game out of reach.

Williams topped off that performance by firing a perfect strike from center field in the bottom of the ninth that nailed a North runner at the plate to end the game. The South catcher who applied the tag was AC’s Joseph Dunlap.

Williams, Dunlap and Douglas Davis gave retiring Rebel coach Gill Morris plenty to be proud of in the All-Star Game.

Morris said he plans to get in plenty of hunting and fishing while teaching class. He might return to coaching later, but when asked if he would consider umpiring, his answer was a simple &uot;No.&uot;

Craig Beesley, coach of the MHSAA Class 1A state champion Cathedral Green Wave, got his start in coaching under Morris at Natchez High in 1994. Beesley lettered six years in baseball at Cathedral and also earned four letters in football as well as three in basketball. He was elected Most Athletic and Mr. CHS his senior year in high school and won the coveted Bobby Irby Scholarship.

Craig was also the recipient of the Randy Makamson Scholarship, awarded at the High School All-Star game after his senior year, before entering Delta State on an athletic scholarship.

Craig lettered three years at DSU and won the Hustle Award his junior year. Beesley’s coaching career at Cathedral began in 1995, and he has taught high school math and served as an assistant football coach to his father, Ken Beesley Sr., since then.

Craig also spent five years coaching girls’ basketball and has been head baseball coach since last year.

His CHS baseball team not only won the Class 1A title this year, but their only losses were twice to 4A state champ Brookhaven, once to 5A Gulfport and a single playoff loss to Union.

Cathedral’s starting pitcher Te Riley’s half-brother, Jimmy Riley, was the starting pitcher for the Greenies against Houlka in the 1982 playoffs.

Coach Beesley remarked that the umpiring throughout this year’s playoffs was very good and consistent, but here is a note that it wasn’t always that way.

An elderly 95-years-young friend of ours in Canton played for Dudy Noble in 1933. A clipping of one of his games, I think it was the Mississippi A&M &uot;Aggies&uot; against Michigan or Illinois, remarked the game was marred by almost continuous &uot;disputes.&uot; Some things never change, do they?

Al Graning is a former SEC official and Natchez resident. Reach him at