Filling the gap: Cathedral strategy for baseball season is to keep improving

Published 12:15 am Monday, February 12, 2018


NATCHEZ — In his more than 25 years coaching Cathedral School baseball, Craig Beesley has never had a losing record.

This year, Beesley is up for a challenge.

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“We have always had a very strong baseball program,” he said. “We knew we would eventually have a gap in numbers, and it’s here.”

The Green Wave has definitely notched recent success, winning a state championship twice under Beesley and most recently in 2015.

However, Cathedral lost six seniors to graduation this past season, and the long-term affects of a successful rotation has finally caught up, Beesley said.

“We will have some rough games,” he said. “We just know there are going to be those patches and maybe not play up to the level we have in the past.”

Dealing with a situation that is fairly new to him, Beesley said this year’s strategy is to simply improve.

Out of 15 high schoolers on this year’s roster, seven of them are freshmen.

“Out motto is to keep working and get better every day,” he said. “We have a long way to go, but we know that. We know we lost a lot last year, and we know we are going to be young.”

Despite the youth, the Green Wave isn’t lacking talent.

“They aren’t bad athletically,” Beesley said. “We just don’t have that many of them.”

Beesley said the strong suit for Cathedral will be its pitching. Led by junior Ben Foster, the Green Wave has multiple players to fill the spot.

“We didn’t graduate any pitchers. We will be deep on the mound,” Beesley said. “We don’t have any really great pitchers, but we have about four or five really good pitchers. That will definitely pull us through.”

Foster hopes to do his part, too.

“We know (Coach Beesley) trusts us,” he said. “He wouldn’t have us out there if we couldn’t perform. I’m excited to get out there and compete.”

On the other hand, Beesley isn’t so sure about the Green Wave’s offense.

Cathedral lacks strength at the plate after power hitters such as Zach Flattmann, Robert Hargrave and Craig Bradley graduated.

“Our biggest question mark right now is are we going to be able to score runs?” Beesley said. “We lost a lot of our bats.”

While Cathedral will have just two seniors this season in Conner Branton and Caden Poole, Beesley hopes the cycle will eventually play back in his favor.

“They know they are going to have to be leaders and provide a lot of offense and innings on the mound,” Beesley said. “The young ones will get a lot of experience this year because they will be able to play in a lot of games.

“As long as we are mentally in the game and concentrating on what we need to do, that’s all we need to do.”

Cathedral will begin its season Tuesday when it hosts Amite School Center.