CHS baseball came alive in Game 3 Friday
Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 10, 2015
Nothing humbles talent more than losing.
Better yet, nothing forces an athlete to refine his or her focus quite like the letter “L.”
That’s not to say losing isn’t always a bad thing, though. For Cathedral High School, losing to Sacred Heart Thursday night could be the turning point of this postseason. A 7-5 loss gave Cathedral head coach Craig Beesley validity to his month-long preaching about the team’s lack of focus, energy and enthusiasm. Those qualities can be easily adopted when you win 20 out of 23 baseball games, mostly with ease. And after all, this is a Cathedral squad that returned most of its pieces from the 2014 state runner-ups. Take into consideration this group only has one senior and immaturity should actually be expected. That doesn’t mean immaturity will ever be accepted by Beesley, though, and after Thursday night’s game, the tone in his voice told the story — he was candidly frustrated his team was underperforming.
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Following the loss, Beesley’s assistant Brett Hinson didn’t get any sleep Thursday night, contemplating what he could tell the players the next day, to try and light a fire in one of the most athletically gifted baseball teams in the area.
From Friday morning until game time, Hinson heard the same thing from teachers and parents — the kids were ready.
“We’ll see,” Hinson said. “They’re just going to have to get out there and do it.”
After a scoreless first inning, Cathedral erupted. The Green Wave laced Sacred Heart starting pitcher Griffin Wiggins. Quinton Logan and Pate Shirley led off the inning with back-to-back singles before Reed White hit an RBI single and J.J. Jenkins followed with an RBI double.
Then Andrew Beesley stepped to the plate. Before the game, Andrew gathered the team together in hopes of setting an all-business tone.
“Our group, we’ve been goofing off a lot, and (Craig Beesley) preaches to us after every game,” Andrew said. “The junior class, that’s what he calls us, goofs off too much, and isn’t serious. We finally came out here and wanted to prove a point. We’re tired of disappointing our fans and our coaches.”
Andrew ripped an RBI single, and after reaching third, he would attempt score on an infield grounder. Instead of the throw going to first base, a Sacred Heart player tried to get Andrew at home, but an errant throw skipped past the catcher. With home plate right in front of him, Andrew emphatically stomped on it to give Cathedral a 6-0 lead.
“It put an explanation point on that inning,” Craig said. “Just the fact that we were able to explode. It was a snowball effect.”
Andrew let out a roar as he scored, and the Cathedral dugout was eating it up.
“I was fired up,” Andrew said. “The fans had me going, the dugout had me going. We need to be scrappy.”
All season long, skill has never been an issue with this team. But at times, perhaps due to the high talent level, the Green Wave have played almost lifeless, going through the motions in what could be a historic season for the school.
Friday was the awakening.
With 11 runs on 10 hits and a shutout performance by Gabe Smith on the mound, the monster within is starting to emerge, and you couldn’t ask for a better time with a south state showdown against Stringer looming.
Last season, Cathedral faced Stringer in south state, and there was a bit of controversy surrounding the series. The originally scheduled Thursday, Friday and Saturday series was shifted to Thursday, Saturday and Monday because Stringer had graduation Friday. The rescheduling allowed Cathedral ace Thomas Garrity and Stringer ace Trenton Stringer to pitch both Game 1 and Game 3. However, because Garrity pitched that Monday, he was unavailable for Game 1 of the state championship, which took place at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
With a scheduled Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday series (Thursday being the only home game for the Green Wave), the scheduling drama should be nonexistent this time.
The bigger storyline of 2015 was, is and will continue to be Cathedral’s ability to reach its potential on the diamond. The Green Wave showed a glimpse with their backs against the wall Friday, and Craig hopes it’s a sign of bigger and better things.
“That was what I’ve been waiting for,” Craig said.
JAKE MARTIN is the sports editor for The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3633 or email@example.com.