Green Wave face rival St. Al in round 2

Published 12:08 am Thursday, April 23, 2009

NATCHEZ — Cathedral might be facing off against its archrival St. Aloysius in the second round of the Class 1A baseball playoffs, but you wouldn’t know it talking to the Green Wave players.

It’s just one more team they’ve got to go through in order to win a state championship.

“We haven’t thought about the rivalry,” Game 1 starting pitcher Preston Edwards said. “Our goal is a state championship. We’re just thinking about getting to next week.”

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But in order to get to next week, the Green Wave (21-0) will have to defeat probably the strongest opponent it has faced this year in the Flashes (20-3).

“They definitely are a good team,” Cathedral coach Craig Beesley said. “They play good defense, have good pitchers and swing the bat well. We’ve got to keep them off the base paths.”

Cathedral has dominated the series with St. Al of late, winning nine of the last 11 games against the Flashes, including a 5-4 victory last season.

The two teams were supposed to meet in the regular season, but it was rained out.

Game 1 of the series is at 6 p.m. today at Chester Willis Field while Game 2 is 6 p.m. Friday at St. Al. An if-necessary Game 3 will be back in Natchez on Saturday.

Beesley hopes that Cathedral’s playoff experience will pay off against its rival.

“We’ve been in this situation the past four or five years and this is their first,” Beesley said. “They’ve been building with a young team for awhile now. There is a lot of pressure on them because this is the group they always said they’d win the championship with. Hopefully we can keep our streak going against them.”

In order to do that, Beesley said the Green Wave will have to take advantage of their opportunities.

“I think the whole series will come down to two or three plays in each game,” Beesley said. “They don’t give up many runs, and they play good defense. In situations where we have runners in scoring position, we’ll have to get them across the plate.”

While St. Al is focusing on the rivalry, Green Wave players say it’s just like any other playoff series.

“I hope nobody on the team feels like this is a bigger game than any other,” Green Wave senior left fielder Kole Junkin said.

“This is just another series. It has nothing to do with the rivalry. It’s only round two of the playoffs.