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Cathedral falls to rival St. Aloysius in game one of South State

NATCHEZ — Cathedral embarrassed St. Aloysius twice in the regular season with two blowout wins.

But when the two teams faced off when it really mattered, Game 1 of the South State championship series, the Flashes were ready for revenge.

St. Al jumped on Cathedral starting pitcher Aaron White for six runs in the top of the first inning and Flashes pitcher Stephen Evans made it hold up in a 6-2 victory.

St. Al (19-7) can clinch the series today with a win in Game 2, which begins at 6 p.m. in Vicksburg.

“I’m disappointed in the competitive nature of the team tonight,” Cathedral coach Craig Beesley said. “They just took it out of us with that first inning. We just didn’t meet the challenge they presented.”

White completely shut down the Flashes in the Wave’s 12-0 regular season victory, throwing a four-hit shutout.

But the St. Al batters were ready for him on Thursday, knocking him out of the game with only one out recorded in the top of the first inning.

“We knew what we had to do,” St. Al coach Clint Wilkerson said. “We came out very hot and were locked in. We had to jump on them early and we did a good job of that.”

After a walk and a single put runners on the corners with no outs, Ryno Martin-nez struck the first blow of the game with a two-run double.

After Reed Evans walked, Stephen Evans hit a double that scored Martin-nez, but Reed Evans was thrown out at the plate for the first out.

A single by Reagan Nosser put runners on the corner and Judson Gatling brought Evans home with a single that spelled the end of the night for White on the mound.

Justin Rushing greeted new pitcher Tyler Morrison with a single that plated a run, and the sixth run of the inning scored when centerfielder Hunter Foster mishandled the ball.

“Exactly what we talked about trying to avoid, keeping them away from multi-run innings and staying ahead of the batters, we did neither of those in the first inning,” Beesley said. “(Aaron) couldn’t get ahead of them in the count and was pitching from behind.”

Morrison did a masterful job out of the bullpen, allowing only two hits in 6 2/3 innings, but Cathedral’s offense couldn’t get much of anything going against Evans.

“Tyler came in and really kept us in the game,” Beesley said. “I had a feeling that we would chip away at the lead but we never made a run. We had poor pitch selection at the plate.”

Cathedral (19-6) could only muster six hits in the game, and four of those came in the last two innings, when the Green Wave scored both of their runs.

“(Stephen) is a big-game pitcher,” Wilkerson said. “He battled and got out of a few jams, and we played solid defense behind him.”

The Green Wave avoided the shutout when Caleb Johnson’s infield single scored courtesy runner Pate Dillard, who was running for Caleb Upton in the sixth inning.

Cathedral got another run in the seventh when Kyle Bradley, running for Rudy Lazarus who had doubled earlier in the inning, scored on a ground out by White.

One bright spot for the Green Wave was the return of Dylan White, who had missed three weeks due to a head injury suffered on April 21.

White came in the game as a pinch runner in the fourth inning and stayed in the game to play shortstop.

And with Cathedral’s season on the line tonight, Beesley said Dylan White will get the start on the mound.

“Dylan has done a lot with us since he’s been out,” Beesley said. “It’s not like he hasn’t thrown a ball. He’s been working and his arm feels good. I hope he gives us a good performance.”

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