Cathedral ready for playoff matchup against Indianola

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 10, 2016

NATCHEZ — Forty-eight days.

That’s how long it’s been since the Cathedral High School baseball team last lost.

The Green Wave will look to keep their 15-game winning streak going strong today when it travels to Indianola Academy for the opening game of an MAIS AAA best-of-three semifinal series.

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Game 2 will be Saturday at Chester Willis Field with a potential Game 3 to follow, if necessary.

“We know they are going to be a good team,” Cathedral baseball coach Craig Beesley said. “Anybody that’s made it to the semifinals in our league is going to be a good team. We are going to play our best ball.”

The Colonels advanced to the semifinals after taking down Centreville Academy in a best-of-three set in the opening round, then topped Central Hinds Academy in the quarterfinals last week. Indianola lost the series opener to Central Hinds before rallying to win back-to-back games on the road to advance, 5-3 and 7-4.

“They have three pitchers that are all about the same — they all throw a lot of strikes,” Beesley said. “Offensively, they’ve got a big kid that plays third base for them, and he’s one of their better hitters — he’s probably one of the better hitters in our league. We’re going to have to make sure we’re careful when we pitch to him.”

Beesley said a key ingredient to his squad’s success this year has been its attention to detail and each player’s willingness to do whatever is best for the team.

“That’s something we try to instill in our kids when they are in the ninth grade,” he said. “They’ve got to be a part of the team, whether they are playing or not. I think they realize as they go through that in their younger years, and by the time they get to the point that they are playing, they understand how important every aspect of the game is.”

Cathedral’s winning streak began after a 2-1 loss to district rival Simpson Academy in eight innings. The Green Wave would bounce back to top Simpson 3-2 at home later in the week, but Beesley pointed to a game played just days later as a turning point for his team’s season.

“I think our season turned around when we went to Parklane Academy (a 13-12 win on March 1),” Beesley said. “I think that was the turning point in our season. The game at Simpson, we had the lead late in the game, but we just couldn’t hold on. I knew at that time Simpson was one of the better teams in our league, and it’s shown throughout the playoffs — they’re in the semifinals.”

While the Green Wave continue to play at a high level, Beesley added there always remains room for improvement.

“It is good to be peaking at this time of the year,” Beesley said. “I felt like we played well last week (against Heritage Academy in the quarterfinals). I don’t think we swung the bat as well as we could have, and we had a few mental errors defensively, but I thought overall we played a good series. I feel there is a little more left, and we can do better.”

First pitch of the Indianola series is set for 6 p.m. today.