Russ strikes out 13 in Green Wave win

Published 11:54 am Friday, March 10, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Cathedral High School senior pitcher Noah Russ overcame a shaky start by striking out 13 batters as the Green Wave rallied from an early deficit to defeat the Natchez High School Bulldogs 12-4 last Thursday night at Chester Willis Field.

Both starting pitchers got off to slow starts, but each of them got out of potential jams to keep the opposition from scoring even more runs. Cathedral scored just a run off the Bulldogs’ Jwun Mackey in the top of the first inning and Russ allowed two runs in the bottom of the first.

Natchez High led Cathedral 2-1 until the top of the third inning, when the Green Wave plated one run to tie the game at 2-2. 

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“I thought we played decently (Thursday) night. I thought we came out a little slow, but the bats came alive later in the game,” Green Wave head coach Andrew Beesley said. “They put some pressure on us with their speed, but we did a good job controlling it.”

While Russ continued to dominate on the mound, Mackey ran into trouble in the top of the fourth inning.

That’s when the Green Wave struck for three runs to take the lead for good at 5-2. And while that was Cathedral’s first lead of the game, it would continue to add to its advantage thanks to a five-run barrage off Bulldogs relief pitcher Jaylin Davis in the top of the sixth inning to take a 10-2 lead.

“We got off to that slow start, but we finally started putting together some at-bats together, some hits, some walks,” Beesley said. “We hit the ball pretty solid to start the game, but they made the plays.”

Mackey went just four innings and gave up five runs, three of them earned, on three hits with four walks, one strikeout and one hit batter.

Russ went the distance and allowed four runs, all of them earned, on seven hits, no walks, and two hit batters. Davis allowed seven runs, all of them earned, on six hits, one walk and three hit batters to go with two strikeouts.

“He had a pretty good performance on the mound. I would like for him to run his pitch count a little lower so he can go deeper in the game,” Beesley said. “But overall, I thought he did pretty good.”

And while Cathedral finished with nine base hits, the Green Wave had only one multiple hitter – Tanner Wimberly, who went 2-for-5 with a double, two runs batted in, and one run scored. Russ went 1-for-2 with a double, two RBIs, and one run scored. Walker Probst was 1-for-3 with a double and one run scored.

Will Welch had a double in his only official at-bat with one RBI, and one run scored. Josh Ingram was 1-for-2 with a double, one RBI, and one run scored.

Beesley added that he was thrilled that five of Cathedral’s base hits went for doubles.

“It’s something we kind of preach, turning every single into a double. That’s something I preach to them. Those extra 90 feet make a big difference,” Beesley said. “In 11 games, we’ve already hit 34 doubles.”

The Bulldogs tried to get back in the game against Russ in the bottom of the sixth inning, but they managed to score just two runs to make it a 10-4 game. The Green Wave got those two runs back in the top of the seventh.

Mackey led the Bulldogs at the plate by going 2-for-3 with a double, one RBI, and one run scored. Traylon Minor was 2-for-3 with one run scored.

Natchez High (5-5) plays again on Friday, March 17 at 1 p.m. when it faces off with Terry High School at Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit.

Cathedral (11-0) doesn’t play again until Monday, March 20 when the Green Wave takes on the Adams County Christian School Rebels in the MAIS District 3-5A opener for both teams. The junior varsity game starts at 4:30 p.m. and will be followed by the varsity game at 6:30 p.m.

“I’m excited to get district play started so we can face different teams and to see what we’re made of,” Beesley said.

Efforts to get comments from Natchez High head coach Dan Smith were unsuccessful.