Cathedral edges St. Aloysius 3-2

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, April 11, 2012

By Jeff Byrd

The Vicksburg Post

VICKSBURG — Cathedral’s magic in one-run games continued Tuesday night against its arch-rivals from St. Aloysius.

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The top two hitters in the Green Waves’ lineup produced a run in the top of the seventh and pitcher Blake Morton left St. Al’s potential tying run in the bottom half of inning stranded on second in Cathedral’s 3-2 win.

The win, coupled with West Lincoln’s 3-2 over Bogue Chitto, puts Cathedral (8-6, 4-1 Division 7-1A) within reach of clinching the division title Friday when St. Al (7-14, 2-3) visits Natchez for the rematch. The Green Wave is now 5-1 in one-run games, which includes all four of its wins in the division.

Cathedral coach Craig Beesley said his team’s mental toughness overcame another shaky effort defensively.

“These kids battle and that’s why we’ve done well in one-run games this year,” Beesley said. “Blake (Morton) has been the constant. We’ve struggled defensively all season, and did again tonight, but we also had two good putouts off assists from the outfield. Those were two crucial outs for us. It kept us away from the big inning because St. Al can score in bunches.”

The first punch out came in the fifth inning with Cathedral guarding a 2-0 lead. George Tzotzolas’ sacrifice bunt moved Matt Bell and Neal Ricks into scoring position. Leadoff man, Matt Foley, followed with a single off Morton up the middle. Bell scored standing up, but Ricks was caught at the plate after a good tag from catcher Caleb Upton.

Down 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth, St. Al tied it when Josh Eargle doubled into right center to score Matt Mims, who had reached on an infield hit. Eargle tried to stretch the hit to a triple but Turner Janette’s throw from right got Eargle out on a tag by Jamon Gray.

That left the game tied at 2 going to the top of the seventh. Thomas Garrity led off with a double to right-center. Upton followed with a hit to left to score Garrity for a 3-2 lead. Upton later reached third but Eargle, St. Al’s starting pitcher, escaped further harm in the inning.

Morton, who had just one strikeout through six innings, struck out Bell to start the seventh but gave up a hit to Neal Ricks, to put the tying run on for the Flashes. He bounced back to fan pinch-hitter Ben Welp. He ended the game with Foley flying out to right.

St. Al coach Derrik Boland said his team came up a hit short.

“We were one or two hits from winning this one,” Boland said. “The good thing for us, had this been a couple of weeks ago, we would have blown up and given them five runs there in the fifth inning, and instead, we minimized the damage and held them to one run.”

In that inning, Cathedral got Garrity and Upton after errors but only Garrity got home after a hit by Kyle Bradley.

Garrity led Cathedral scoring all three of the Wave’s runs.

Morton scattered eight hits to grab the win. Eargle gave up six hits but also allowed five walks.