Cathedral christen Andrew Beesley era with 11-0 win
Published 9:46 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2023
NATCHEZ — The Andrew Beesley era at Cathedral opened up with an 11-0 win over Amite School Center Tuesday night. It was the first time in 30 years, Craig Beesley was not in the dugout as a head coach. He watched his son from the fan side of the fence.
Three Beesleys have coached in succession at Cathedral. Ken, Craig and now Andrew.
Andrew’s mom Margaret watched with Craig from the first base side. She said as a mom it is both exciting but nerve wracking because she wanted him to have a good first game. Not much has changed from when he was playing at Cathedral.
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“It stirs up my mouth but I can’t holler too much. It was one thing to holler at him when he was playing but now he is the coach I have to be careful about it,” she said. “It is a new phase and I’m nervous for him. I have a lot of advice for him and I’m sure he won’t want to hear it tonight. It is still a proud moment to watch your kid realize their dream. All kids have a dream to play baseball at the highest level and while it did not come true for him, he has always wanted to end up in the green and white. He is back where he started, everything has come full circle.”
Andrew came out to Chester Willis Field at Liberty Park early in the day to make sure it was in tip top shape for their first game of the season. His nerves did not settle until the Green Wave drove in nine runs in the fourth inning which finished off the Amite School Rebels.
Cathedral got off to a great start in the first inning with Noah Russ and Jackson Navarro doubling to start the game. They were driven in to take an early 2-0 lead but then the grind started. Offensively, they hit a slump until the fourth inning but senior pitcher Jake Maples threw well and kept a no-hitter in five innings of work.
“It is awesome. It was a great feeling to get the first win of my head coaching career. We came out slow and I was nervous,” Andrew said. “First game jitters. You have to get them out of the way. We responded well to adversity and bounced back to put those runs on the board.”
One thing to note about Andrew is his demand for excellence from the players. He played baseball at the University of Louisiana Monroe and expects great things from his guys. It is a tough love but the players have responded well.
Margaret said she feels Andrew will have a lot to share with the players with his past experiences in college and high school baseball. She has the same confidence in him as when he was a player. Navarro said he likes how Andrew and the other coaches push them to be better and he feels he can relate to the young coaching staff.
One of the ways Cathedral celebrated Andrew’s first win was presenting him a signed baseball. He appreciated the gesture but gave the team a charge that he wanted to get a baseball after they won state at the end of the year.
“I don’t want to settle for a first game win. I want a ball at the end,” Andrew said. “Anything is possible. We have good arms and they looked good tonight. I’m looking for a number four guy. Matt Kaiser should do a good job for us and Grayson Gay will contribute too. I’m excited about our arms. If we play good defense we should be able to put up runs.”
Navarro said after the game he did not add a personal note to the ball for Andrew but will add one if they win a state championship. He said the opening win showed how much the team had gelled together over the off season.
“We are gelling as a team. Last year we had a good team and we took a little bit to gell. I think our coaches have made us work harder and there is more drive,” he said. “I like having someone young coaching us. They understand us and can relate real well. The coaching staff vibes well with the team.”
Craig said he could not remember if he won his first game as a head coach 30 years ago or who Cathedral played. He does remember winning a state championship his second year with the program.
Andrew’s first win as a head coach is just the beginning of a new chapter, Craig said.
“There is a lot of excitement right now. There have been some memorable games here and I’m sure there will be many more to come,” Craig said. “It is fun to watch this group of coaches work so well. They have energy and enthusiasm. I hope they can build off of it.”