McDonough keeps St. Al quiet in Wave victory

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

NATCHEZ &045; All Patrick McDonough had to do was take a glance in the opposing dugout and another in the stands.

In a jam with the bases loaded and one out, the Cathedral left-hander may have just used the atmosphere to refocus himself in a tough situation. The Green Wave had a 4-0 lead at the time over St. Aloysius, but the Flashes were on the verge of breaking the game wide open with the middle of their lineup at the plate.

McDonough got the first batter to swing and miss on a full count. He did the same to the Flashes’ cleanup hitter to end the threat.

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And everyone at Chester Willis Field let out a huge sigh of relief.

&uot;I don’t even know &045; I guess I was feeling a little bit tired,&uot; said McDonough, who struck out 11 in five innings. &uot;With all the people out here, it makes me work harder when I know all those people are coming out here. I’ve been in a bunch of situations like that, and I think I do better coming from behind than being ahead.&uot;

McDonough’s efforts kept a good hitting St. Al team at bay with an effective curveball sprinkled in with the fastball. The sophomore threw only five innings before Jeremy Davis shut the door for the win, and the Flashes had just two hits &045; both in the second &045; before getting two unearned runs off Davis in the sixth.

But McDonough’s efforts were enough as the Green Wave (7-0, 16-2) got runs early to take the win and get a leg up in the race for the Division 7-1A championship.

&uot;He was struggling a little bit after we made the error behind him (in the fifth),&uot; Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley said. &uot;He was getting his pitches up in the zone. I think he was hitting his limit, but he did a heck of a job those first four innings. He kept them off balance. He’s got a good curveball.

&uot;I can’t say enough about the atmosphere tonight, the intensity St. Al brought and the intensity we brought. It was good high school baseball. That was a big game for a 10th-grader to pitch with the intensity and the No. 1 seed on the line.&uot;

That sent first-year St. Al head coach Clint Wilkerson scratching his head a bit since his club hasn’t had problems hitting the ball. In the second they left runners on second and third after Blake Tidwell and Johnathan Longmire singled with two outs, but McDonough got a strikeout to end the inning.

They left a runner on third in the third and on second in the fourth, but in the fifth Pearson Wareing reached base on an error, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch with one out.

Jordan Muirhead walked, and Lambert Culley walked to load the bases.

Beesley went out to the mound, and Davis started long tossing in center field to possibly get ready to take the mound. But McDonough finished the inning out to take a load of momentum away from St. Al.

&uot;We’ve been hitting the ball well all year,&uot; Wilkerson said. &uot;We’ve been killing the ball. We just didn’t get it done. We left eight guys on the bases &045; that’s a small army. We’ll get to play them next week at our place and see what we can do. It was a great ball game. But we made a few mistakes, and that hurt us.&uot;

The Green Wave struggled against midway through at the plate against St. Al right-hander Andy Wiles but finally got some insurance runs in the sixth after the Flashes scored two in the top half.

Zach Calhoun walked, stole second and stole third before scoring on a Jesse Morrison single for a 5-2 lead. Parker Brumfield’s pinch-hit double moved Morrison to third, and Andrew Ellard singled in Morrison before Muirhead threw out Brumfield at the plate from center to end the inning.

&uot;He did a good job, and he had some tailing action on his fastball,&uot; Beesley said. &uot;I wanted to score one. I wanted to be up by three, and that was two big hits by two freshmen. The top of the lineup struggled tonight. Drew Burns had some good swings tonight, and the middle and the bottom of the order really carried us.&uot;

The Flashes had problems defensively in the second that gave the Green Wave runs early. Zack Calhoun put down a bunt with Burns on first and got on when the throw went into right field.

Then the throw from right was wild to second, and Burns scored and Calhoun went to second. Then Chris Rasco tripled in Calhoun for a 2-0 lead.

In the third Charlie Lane doubled in Davis and later scored on a Calhoun bunt for a 4-0 lead.

&uot;I feel like we came out flat,&uot; Wilkerson said. &uot;We’ve got a lot of young players, and we didn’t get it done. We lost 6-2 on four unearned runs. We should still be playing. Andy hit his spots all night. He pitched well enough to win.&uot;

The Flashes scored two in the sixth when Curtis Robertson scored from second on an errant pickoff throw to first and Ryno Martinez scored on a Longmire groundout.