Cathedral completes comeback win over Loyd Star

Published 11:51 am Friday, April 5, 2024

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NATCHEZ — One of the top teams in all of MAIS Class 5A squared off with one of the best teams in MHSAA Class 2A last Thursday afternoon at Chester Willis Field as the Cathedral High School Green Wave took on the Loyd Star Attendance Center Hornets.

And the game lived up to the billing as the two teams went back and forth from start to finish. Down 9-7 after five and a half innings, Cathedral responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and one run in the bottom of the seventh to rally for a dramatic 10-9 win over Loyd Star.

“It was a really good ball game. It went back and forth,” Green Wave head coach Andrew Beesley said. “I was proud of the way our kids fought back. They never gave up and competed until the end and came out on top.”

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Cathedral was trailing 5-2 when the top of the fifth inning was completed. That’s when the Green Wave started the first of turned out to be two rallies late in the game. In the bottom of the fifth, the Green Wave exploded for five runs to take a 7-5 lead.

With the bases load, Drake Cox delivered with a two-run double. Then with two outs, Cathedral got a couple of more key base hits to give the Green Wave its first lead since they led 1-0 in the top of the first inning.

First, Doug Smith singled in two runs. Then Walker Probst came through with an RBI single. However, Cathedral’s pitching almost gave the game away in the top of the sixth inning.

“We came out and got the first two outs really easily. Then we had three two-out walks and Brandon Burt hit a three-RBI triple,” Beesley said. “I would like to see us clean up mistakes with two-out walks so we don’t get in that position.”

That hit by Burt highlighted a four-run rally by the Hornets in the that frame to give them a 9-7 advantage. Burt went 2-for-4 with his triple and three RBIs while Jordyn Kees was 2-for-2.

But once again, the Green Wave had an answer. And this time it was not only at the plate, but on the mound and in the field.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Jackson Navarro hit the second of his two triples to drive in a run and later scored from third on an RBI groundout to shortstop by Josh Ingram to make it a 9-9 game.

Ethan Keith came on in relief in the top of the seventh and gave up one hit and one walk. The defense behind him came through in a big way. Keith was credited with the win on the mound.

“We threw a guy out in the top of the seventh from left field. That was with two outs,” Beesley said.

Then with one out in the bottom of the seventh, Smith scored the game-winning run on an RBI single by Houston Edwards that went over the Hornets shortstop’s head. Smith went 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs while Navarro went 2-for-3 with his two triples and one RBI.

Beesley said he knew Loyd Star would provide a good challenge for his Green Wave team coming into this match-up.
“Loyd Star has a pretty good team. They’re No. 3 in Class 2A in the public schools. They were 14-3 coming into this game. I knew it was going to be a good game,” Beesley said. “But I thought our kids competed really well. They were never out of the fight.”

Jake Smith pitched two-plus innings for Loyd Star (14-4) and gave up five runs, all of them earned, on five hits with one strikeout and three walks.

Green Wave freshman Eli Wilson got the start on the mound and had a solid outing. He went four innings and allowed four runs on five hits with two strikeouts and three walks.

“I thought he gave us a quality start and he gave us a chance to win the ball game,” Beesley said.

Cathedral (16-3) returns to MAIS District 4-5A play on Tuesday, April 9 when they travel to Vicksburg to take on archrival St. Aloysius High School with the junior varsity game at 4 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 6 p.m.