Cathedral, Natchez suffer narrow defeats

Published 12:25 am Friday, April 25, 2008

COLUMBUS — Just like in the first round against Mount Olive, Cathedral will have to win both games at home to stay alive in the Class 1A State Playoffs.

West Lowndes’ Jay Rogers went 3-for-3 with a double and a key home run in the bottom of the fifth inning as the Panthers held on for a 6-4 win over the Green Wave in Game 1 of the second round.

Cathedral (19-5) now must win both games on Saturday at Chester Willis Field to advance to the third round or its season will be over. Game 2 starts at 1 p.m. and Game 3, if necessary, begins at 3:30 p.m. And that will be weather permitting as rain is in the forecast.

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“We struggled early in the second and third innings defensively and we were fighting from behind the rest of the game,” Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley said.

After the Green Wave scored their two runs in the top of the first inning, they didn’t score again until they scored what ended up being their final two runs in the top of the fifth. In between, West Lowndes (17-4) scored three runs in the bottom of the second and two more in the bottom of the third for a 5-2 lead.

Even though Cathedral had cut into the Panthers’ lead in the top of the fifth, pitcher Clark McCullum kept the Green Wave confused throughout the game with a mixture of fastballs and curveballs.

“He spotted the fastball real well and he worked both sides of the plate,” Beesley said.

Rogers’ solo home run in the bottom of the fifth was huge as it gave West Lowndes a two-run lead. McCullum did the rest, holding Cathedral scoreless in the final two innings.

Preston Edwards went 2-for-4 and Daniel Jenkins was 2-for-3 to lead the Green Wave at the plate.

Hattiesburg 9, Natchez High 8

OCEAN SPRINGS — The Bulldogs scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but it was not quite enough as the Tigers held on for a one-run win Thursday night to advance to the winner’s bracket of the Region 7 Tournament in the Class 5A playoffs.

Natchez High (8-11), the Region 6-5A runner-up, will take on the loser of the game between Hattiesburg, the Region 5-5A No. 3 seed, and Region 7-1A champion Ocean Springs today at 6 p.m.

“Proud of my kids. We fought hard. Didn’t give up tonight. Never quit,” Natchez High head coach Charlie Williams said. “Continued to play. We knew if we kept the pressure, good things would happen.”

The Bulldogs trailed the Tigers 5-1 going into the bottom of the third inning, but they scored three runs to make it a one-run game. But the Tigers responded with three runs in the top of the fourth and one run in the top of the sixth to give them a 9-4 lead. Turns out that run they scored in the sixth turned out to be big because it gave them just enough of a lead before the Bulldogs tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh.

“We had the bases loaded with two outs, but we couldn’t get the last hit,” Williams said. “We’ll come back even harder tomorrow.”

Javon Washington went 2-for-3 with a triple and Giovanni Dent was 2-for-3. Despite the loss, Travis Isaac was solid on the mound for Natchez High as he gave up just four hits.