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Four Cathedral players named to All-State team

NATCHEZ — After a season in which they didn’t feel they got the esteem they deserved, four Cathedral baseball players were shown the ultimate sign of respect by the Mississippi Association of Coaches.

Cathedral senior pitcher and infielder Dylan White and first baseman Tyler Ballard were selected to the MAC All-State first team, while senior outfielder Caleb Johnson and sophomore catcher Caleb Upton were selected to the All-State second team.

For White and Ballard, the selection was a great way to put a cap on their high school careers.

“It’s just an honor to be named (to the first team) with some of those guys,” White said. “Most of (the other players selected) are playing college ball somewhere. For me and Tyler to make first team, it’s a big honor for Cathedral.”

White said he was surprised to find out he made first team All-State because of the lack of attention Cathedral has garnered this season.

“Not many people respected us as a team this year,” White said. “We had to work hard for our respect all year. But it turned out well for the team having four guys making All-State.”

In addition to being named to the All-State team, Ballard played in the MAC Class 1A-2A-3A All-Star Game at Trustmark Park in Pearl on Saturday.

He got a hit in his only at bat and scored a run for the South team in a 7-2 victory.

“I feel thankful and blessed that I’ve been able to play baseball as well as I have,” Ballard said. “It definitely feels good to know you’ve been selected among the elite players in the state. It’s kind of like the icing on top of the cake.”

Cathedral baseball coach Craig Beesley said White, Ballard and Johnson weren’t just great players, but also great leaders of the team, and will be missed next season.

“No doubt, we’re going to miss their leadership next season,” Beesley said. “Leadership is big in all sports, but especially in high school, it’s important to have great leaders on the team.”

And Upton is one of the ones who will be counted on to provide that leadership, Beesley said.

“Caleb is one of the ones we’re hoping step up in a leadership role, especially with him being a catcher,” Beesley said. “He’s got to be a leader behind the plate.”

Ballard batted .474 with 10 home runs, 12 doubles and 46 RBI his senior season while White compiled an 8-2 record with a 3.10 ERA with 71 strikeouts and just 16 walks in 59 innings pitched.

Johnson batted .362 with five home runs and 25 RBI on the year, while Upton batted .412 with six home runs, six doubles and 30 RBI.

White and Ballard both said going out together on the All-State first team was something they wouldn’t forget.

“It’s really cool, because we’ve been playing together our whole lives, since we were little kids,” White said. “We’ve been pretty much on the same teams having fun together.”

“It’s good to have a friend make the team with you,” Ballard said. “To know that the last year you played together, the last possible team you could make together you did. That’s awesome.”

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