St. Aloysius set to tangle with Stringer|[04/27/07]

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 27, 2007

Only a handful of high school pitchers in Mississippi hit 90 mph on the radar gun, and the St. Aloysius Flashes will see one of them tonight.

Seth Hester, a Meridian Community College signee who had drawn major interest from Southern Miss and LSU, will bring his strong right arm into the second round of the Class 1A state playoffs. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Bazinsky Field.

Game 2 of the best-of-three series is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Stringer, and if a third game is needed, it would be on Thursday at Bazinsky.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The long layoff means the Flashes could see Hester twice if the series lasts that long.

For Flashes’ coach Clint Wilkerson, it’s all a matter of adjustments.

&#8220When you face a guy that throws hard, it’s all about stride adjustment,” Wilkerson said. &#8220Whether the guy is throwing 70 or 90, you have to adjust your stride. It’s nothing being thrown that you can’t hit, it’s just you have to make adjustments.”

Hester pitched Stringer to a Game 1 victory over Nanih Waiya in last week’s opening round, then had to throw four innings of relief in the deciding third game. Wilkerson scouted the Red Devils (18-3) on Saturday.

&#8220He’s a big, hard thrower, one of the best in the state. He’ll get it up there 88 consistently, and he will break off a 12-6 curveball.”

The winner of this series will advance to play the winner of the Lake-St. John series for the South State championship.

The Flashes (23-6) will take aim at a championship with three valuable seniors and a host of underclassmen who have played hundreds of games in their short careers.

John Robert Burnett, Jordan Muirhead and Marsh Willis were sophomores in Wilkerson’s first season. They’ve been a part of an ever-improving ballclub that had one goal from the start.

&#8220The word on us is that we are still young,” Wilkerson said. &#8220But we have a great group of seniors who know that this team is not about me, but about we.

&#8220Everyone on this team knows that we are after a state championship and it’s not about who is hitting .500 or who gets their name in the paper. It’s about us.”

Senior Jordan Muirhead leads the team with a .430 batting average and is one of the Flashes’ top pitchers. Marsh Willis is hitting .389 and has driven in 35 runs. John Robert Burnett is a natural leader.

&#8220I told our seniors the other day that if we want to win a state championship, they were gonna have to be the horses. The wagon is hooked up to them and they have to pull us through,” Wilkerson said.

It will be a freshman the Flashes turn to early, though, as Ryno Martin-Nez (5-3, 1.84 ERA) will take the mound tonight. Martin-Nez also is the team’s second-leading hitter at .427 and leads the team with three home runs.

Stephen Evans, another freshman, likely will get the start on Saturday. He is 5-1 with a 0.85 ERA.