Backs against the wall: Cathedral seniors, head coach’s final season will come down to 54 outs
Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022
NATCHEZ — Cathedral scored three runs in the seventh inning, but it was too little, too late in their 15-5 loss to Brookhaven Academy Tuesday evening. The Cougars took game one of the MAIS 5A playoff series after jumping out to a 9-1 lead in the fourth inning.
The Green Wave gave up 17 hits and committed three errors in the loss.
Cathedral is in a hole going into Friday night. They need back-to-back wins to advance in the playoffs.
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“We tried to steal one here today and then try to take game two on Friday. Now our backs are against the wall,” Craig said. “It is no different playing on the road. I think we can play just as well as we do at home. We have to come out and compete. I don’t think we competed tonight. I’m disappointed in the way we showed up to the park.”
Senior Paxton Junkin was left on third base 90 feet from home plate when the game ended. His time as a Green Wave player is coming to an end.
Last season, he delivered the walk-off to beat ACCS and get the Green Wave into the playoffs. Friday night could be his final moment as a Cathedral baseball player. He knows what they will need to do to keep the season alive.
“We have to play baseball. The team has to show up ready to play,” Junkin said. “They have to act like they want to win. I feel the end. I can see it tonight. I’ll take any way to come back here for another game.”
Junkin said he isn’t sure what is in store for him whenever his season ends and he graduates. He likes to take things one step at a time.
Similarly, Cathedral will need to take things one step at a time Friday.
Defensively, they need to make plays. There were a few times Jackson Navarro and Jake Maples made hustle plays. Cathedral needs to string together some timely hits. Thirteen Green Wave batters were left stranded tonight, and they had just seven hits.
Beesley said they would need to keep the score low to have a chance to win. Noah Russ will have the start in game two. He went 2-3 at the plate Tuesday night. Beesley added they might need to score late in the game and win, which is what they did last Friday.
“If you don’t compete, it is hard to do any of those things. That is what we are missing right now,” Beesley said. “We need someone to step up when things are good and going bad. Hopefully, we can get to game 3.”
Like Junkin, Beesley’s time on the baseball diamond is nearly over. He will retire at the end of the season. Next fall, he will continue to coach softball.
Cathedral needs two wins Friday to get back to Chester Willis Field. Beesley looked off toward the pitcher’s mound.
“I don’t want it to end like this. I want to coach one more game on this field,” Beesley said. “Hopefully, we can go over there Friday and compete. I want them to remember this season as one where they never gave up when things got tough.”