McDonough keeps Cathedral rolling against St. Aloysius |[04/05/07]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 5, 2007

Natchez Cathedral pitcher Patrick McDonough has been a thorn in St. Aloysius’ side throughout his career.

Wednesday night at Bazinsky Field, McDonough got the better of the Flashes again, pitching the Green Waves to a 3-2 win.

With the win, Cathedral (17-4, 9-0) will host the four-team, Division 7-1A Tournament next week in Natchez. St. Al (17-6, 7-2) will be the No. 2 seed in the double-elimination tournament that will determine the division’s two playoff representatives.

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&#8220We’re probably looking at having to beat them two more times just to get first place in the division. All tonight did was keep us in Natchez,” Cathedral coach Craig Beesley said of the likely scenario next week.

Had St. Al won by five or more runs, it would’ve landed the tournament. McDonough made sure that didn’t happen.

&#8220What he is is a competitor,” St. Al assistant coach Trey Clark said. &#8220He’s not overpowering but he competes and can spot up. When you can spot up and battle that can make you an effective pitcher. And he’s now done it to us six times in a row.”

McDonough improved to 9-0 on the season in besting two St. Al pitchers in starter Ryno Martin-Nez and reliever Jordan Muirhead. The Flashes got seven hits, but could not get the big one they needed in either the fifth or seventh inning.

&#8220The turning point was in the bottom of the fifth when they had second and third and one out and Patrick just bowed up,” Beesley said. &#8220He struck out the next two. Even when they had multiple-hit innings, he kept them to just single runs.”

Cathedral broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning with two runs. Kole Junkin led off with a single, Caleb Johnson was then hit by a pitch to put two on and Blase Bradford bunted the runners over a base with a sacrifice. Junkin then scored on Braxton Fondren’s grounder to second. Jesse Morrison followed with a single up the middle to score Johnson to make it 3-1.

&#8220Even though they outhit us, we got the bunt down to set up that inning,” Beesley said.

The Flashes got one run back in the bottom half of the fourth when Marsh Willis tripled to right and then scored on Justin Rushing’s fielder’s choice.

In the fifth, St. Al looked ready to at least tie the game after Pierson Waring reached on an infield hit and Martin-Nez got on with a bunt.

McDonough, though, struck out Muirhead and Sean Weaver to end the threat and keep the Green Wave in the lead.

&#8220He started me off with breaking balls and then he just froze me with a fastball,” Weaver said. &#8220He’s a difficult pitcher to pick up on.”

&#8220There’s no one I’d rather have up in that situation than either Jordan Muirhead or Sean Weaver,” Clark said. &#8220You just have to credit McDonough.”

St. Al had one last shot in the bottom of the seventh when Waring drew a two-out walk. Martin-Nez battled off four 2-2 strikes with foul balls before grounding out to second base to end the game.

McDonough finished with six strikeouts and he walked three. Martin-Nez went 4 2/3 innings before being relieved by Muirhead, who retired seven of the eight batters faced.