Hitting his stride|Nosser supplies key hits for St. Aloysius offense

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 7, 2009

Given everything that Regan Nosser has been through the past five months, a baseball game seems pretty insignificant. That doesn’t mean getting a huge game-winning hit doesn’t feel good, though.

St. Al vs. Stringer

Game 1: Today, 6 p.m.

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at Stringer

Game 2: Friday, 6 p.m.

at Bazinsky Field

Game 3: Saturday, 4 p.m.

at Stringer (if necessary)

Nosser’s two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning last Saturday gave St. Aloysius a 4-2 win over West Lowndes and sent the Flashes into the Class 1A South State finals for the first time since 2002. It was a high point of what has been an up-and-down season for Nosser, not to mention a rough few months.

In December, two days after Christmas, Nosser was riding in a car on Highway 61 South when it hydroplaned and hit a pole. He spent five days in the hospital with a lacerated spleen.

“It was something I will always remember,” Nosser said, adding that teammates, friends and coaches all showed up at his bedside in the hospital. “When I woke up everybody was there the next morning. I was awed by how many people were there.”

Nosser recovered fully from his injuries, but missed all of preseason practice and the first six games of the baseball season. Although he got some playing time as part of a platoon system in left field with Brendan Beesley, he never became a full-time player.

Despite that, he continued to produce when he was in the lineup. He hit over .400 in about 30 at-bats over the course of 18 games. Overall this season, he’s hitting .415, has scored 23 runs and driven in 16 more in only 41 at-bats.

“Against quality competition, he struggled. Now he’s proving himself capable and that he wants it,” St. Al coach Clint Wilkerson said.

Nosser’s biggest contributions have come in the playoffs.

In a series-clinching win over Cathedral in the second round, he singled and scored a run during a key rally that helped St. Al wipe out a 4-1 deficit. The Flashes went on to win, 7-6, to send them into a third-round series with West Lowndes, where Nosser again played a pivotal role.

Trailing 1-0 in the fifth inning, Nosser reached on a single. With two outs, Blake Haygood laid down a bunt. The third baseman came in to make the play — Haygood beat the throw for a hit — and failed to cover third. Nosser, seeing the empty base, broke for third and a wild throw allowed him to score the tying run.

West Lowndes regained the lead with a run in the top of the sixth, but St. Al rallied again in the bottom of the inning. Two errors and a walk brought in the tying run and brought Nosser to the plate. He slammed a double to the gap in left-center, bringing in two runs to put the Flashes ahead 4-2.

“I told him, before he went to the plate, to go and pick out one pitch and hit it to the left-center field gap. And that’s what he did. It was amazing,” Wilkerson said. “He’s been a guy who’s been in and out of the lineup. But on the biggest stage, he’s getting it done.”

So are the Flashes. Saturday’s win was their sixth in a row in the playoffs, and the first time they’d been held to less than seven runs. In the playoffs, they’ve outscored their opponents 66-17. Next up is division rival Stringer, which split the season series with the Flashes and handed them their last loss, on April 1. Game 1 of the South State finals is tonight at Stringer. Game 2 is Friday at Bazinsky Field.

“The kids are accomplishing a lot and always working to get better,” Wilkerson said. “They keep plugging away and advancing.”


Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com