Cathedral one win away from state title, beat Silliman 4-2

Published 12:49 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Natchez — Following Monday’s Game 1 of the MAIS AAA championship series, Silliman Institute coach John Ryan Beauchamp said the difference in two good teams is the ability to out-execute the opponent.

When a freak play and two unearned runs accounted for Cathedral High School’s four runs, the evidence seems to support Beauchamp’s theory.

Cathedral took Game 1 of the series Monday, 4-2, thanks in large part to an inside-the-park home run from Pate Shirley.

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Cathedral leads the best-of-three series 1-0 as it shifts to Clinton, La. Cathedral coach Craig Beesley said Games 2 and 3, which were originally scheduled for Thursday, could be moved up to Wednesday, depending on weather in the area.

A rain shower that swept through Natchez Monday delayed the start of the game by approximately 105 minutes.

Shirley’s home run came in the bottom of the first inning with leadoff man Andrew Beesley on second base.

“Coach (Beesley) told me to go home and I didn’t know where the ball was in the outfield,” Shirley said.

Silliman (22-9) left fielder J.D. Cook slipped in the outfield while fielding the ball at the fence, which allowed the right fielder to round third and give Cathedral (25-3) an early 2-0 lead.

“(Cook) slid by the fence and his leg was stuck underneath,” Beauchamp said. “Instead of throwing his arms up to hold (Shirley) at third, he tried to play it. I was afraid he was hurt.”

The quirky play got the Green Wave out in front early, and starting pitcher Sam Parker kept the Wildcats’ bats quiet through the first three innings, in which he recorded four of his five strikeouts and allowed just one hit.

Parker said his success came from locating his pitches well and keeping the ball outside.

“Pate gets a lot of balls in right field because we try to keep it outside to the top of the order,” Parker said.

Silliman cashed in on a window of opportunity in the fourth inning after Cathedral third baseman Reed White committed an error, which would have ended the inning.

Silliman designated hitter Josh Coarsey delivered with a two-RBI single to cut Cathedral’s lead to 3-2.

“The two runs they scored were with two outs and we just couldn’t get out of that inning,” Craig said.

Some untimely errors cost Silliman two unearned runs. Shortstop Cole Jackson one-hopped his first baseman to allow Cathedral’s fourth run to cross the plate in the fifth inning. The error came after a throwing error from pitcher Tre’ Bertholet that kept the top of the third inning alive.

“When you have a guy (Parker) that dominant on the mound, (errors) hurt you,” Beauchamp said.

Parker said the weather delay affected his warm up routine, but the light mist during the game didn’t bother him.

“Warming up twice is an issue because once you get in that zone you want to stay in it,” Parker said. “The rain didn’t bother me much during the game.”

Parker allowed no earned runs in his seven innings. He allowed three hits and walked three batters.

“He seems to get better every game and that’s hard to believe,” Craig said.

Shirley was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Jacob Jenkins was 2-for-3 with one RBI. Andrew Beesley was 2-for-4 with a run scored and Craig Bradley was 1-for-3 with at run scored.

“We had two or three kids who really swung it well … we just had a hard time stringing it together,” Craig said. “Hopefully we’ll keep it going when we go down there.”

With the win at Chester Willis Field, Cathedral extended its home winning streak to 28 games dating back to the 2014 season.

“These seniors have really done a good job for us,” Craig said. “It’s impressive to win that many games in a row, no matter who you’re playing.”

Beesley said Game 1 could have gone either way and Game 2 could be different. The Green Wave’s head man said Cathedral would have to take control early in Game 2 and allow starter Gabe Smith to work ahead and eat up innings.

Monday was the last home game for Cathedral’s seniors and perhaps the last start for Parker in a Cathedral uniform. The tall right-hander said he would take the ball to the bump in a heartbeat if Silliman forced a Game 3.

Shirley said between Monday night and Cathedral’s next game, he and his teammates are staying dialed in.

“Come out and stay focused, don’t give up and do our jobs,” Shirley said.