The Beesley Best: Former Cathedral star carrying on talent of rich program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 10, 2018

NATCHEZ — Two days after singing his National Letter of Intent to continue his baseball career at the University of Louisiana Monroe, former Cathedral School star Andrew Beesley was still speechless.

With a stellar sophomore year at Hinds Community College still ongoing, Beesley signed papers Monday to become a Warhawk and continue the Green Wave legacy.

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“It’s definitely been one of my goals, and it feels great to know I can continue my career, but it’s hard to explain — hard to put into words,” Beesley said. “It’s been one of the crazy years where everything just goes right.”

Beesley currently ranks seventh in the nation with a .488 batting average in Division II of the National Junior College Athletic Association. As a utility player in both the infield and outfield who transferred from Southwest Community College, he had nothing but good things to say about his time at Hinds.

“I really feel like I’ve grown as a person. I can’t thank the program enough,” Beesley said. “Leaving Southwest and getting a second chance — I’m so thankful.”

For Beesley, there’s one more person he couldn’t forget to thank — his father and Cathedral baseball coach, Craig Beesley.

“He’s always let me find my own style of baseball. It’s been one of the things that has helped me the most,” Andrew Beesley said. “He never pushed me to do anything his way. I’m really grateful.”

Watching his son excel isn’t half bad, either, Craig Beesley said.

“Coming out of high school, I thought he was pretty solid defensively,” he said. “But you just don’t dream of hitting as well as he has. It’s been a magical year offensively. We are super proud of him.”

On the other hand, Craig Beesley didn’t quite have his best year as a coach. With a bevy of young talent, he recorded his first losing season in more than 25 years leading the Green Wave — and after winning a state championship just four years ago.

Despite the challenges, Craig Beesley isn’t unhappy.

“The biggest thing I take from this year is how much we improved,” he said. “It was unbelievable how hard they worked. It helped our defense that a lot of kids just accepted their role. We are still not quite strong enough to drive the ball down the field offensively, but we will get there.

“There was no doubt we were way better by the end of the season.”

Through the growing pains at Chester Willis Field, Craig Beesley said he traveled to see Andrew play as much as he could this season. Luckily, Andrew Beesley isn’t the only Cathedral graduate excelling on the diamond, either.

Quinton Logan is currently a junior pitcher at Louisiana Tech. Additionally, Craig Bradley and Gabe Smith are both sophomores at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

A couple of weeks ago, Craig Beesley watched as his son took the field against his former teammates in a two-game series in Wesson.

“To see three kids I’ve coached all standing there on the field, it was kind of surreal,” he said.

Andrew Beesley thought so, too. Co-Lin and Hinds split the two games.

“It was fun to be on the same field, but it made me realize how much you miss them,” he said. “They were talking a bunch of trash, but it was really fun.”

Craig Beesley admitted though he never wants to have another losing season, he’s happy the Cathedral talent is living on across the area.

“It’s always good to keep up with them,” he said. “Hopefully some of these younger kids (at Cathedral) will get inspired to want to have their chance to continue their baseball careers when they get to be a little older.”

Andrew Beesley said he knows his dad won’t have any problem leading Cathedral to greatness again in the future, no matter how long it takes.

“He’s going to get it back together sooner or later,” he said.

“We all knew here was a lot of talent in (my) class (of players.) It was exciting to see where everyone was going to go and what they were going to do. I’m just excited to keep going.”

Andrew Beesley and Hinds will travel to Jones Community College for Game 1 of MACJC best two-out-three playoff series at 6 p.m. today. Game 2 will be at 1 p.m. Friday at 1 p.m. in Ellisville with Game 3 to follow, if necessary. The winner of the series will earn a bid to the Region 23 Regional Tournament.