St. Aloysius readies for state championship series

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Many of the St. Aloysius baseball players have been to games at Trustmark Park.

As spectators.

But don’t count on the Flashes (26-4) being overwhelmed by the enormity of the big stage. They relish the opportunity, which starts Thursday in the Class 1A championship series against West Union.

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

St. Al vs. West Union

at Trustmark Park

Game 1: Thursday, 1 p.m.

Game 2: Friday, 7 p.m.

Game 3:  Monday, TBA

Follow the game on Twitter by clicking here

First pitch for Game 1 is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Along the way, the Flashes dispatched a hated archrival Cathedral, dealt with some tenuous Game 3 situations and finally blasted through the primary road block to their state title hopes: division rival Stringer.

The road was a tough one. Both Cathedral and Natchez were among the top two 1A teams in the state and St. Al had to snap Cathedral’s 21-game winning streak.

“It’s going to be fun,” St. Aloysius pitcher Stephen Evans said. “Knowing that I watched the state championship two years ago, when we should have been there and finally knowing we’re going to get to play there is pretty good.”

Both turned out to be just way stations on the road to Trustmark, a place the Flashes have dreamed about since last year’s run ended.

Playing in the state’s top baseball park is a reward in itself for many of the Flashes.

“I’m really excited and it’s going to be great experience,” St. Al outfielder Regan Nosser said. “I’ve already gotten some chills just thinking about it.”

The Flashes have made their run thanks to solid pitching, a steady defense and gobs and gobs of offense. The Flashes are averaging 10.8 runs per contest and are hitting .360 as a team with three extra-base hits per contest.

The Flashes are well rested going into Thursday’s opener, while the Eagles will get only a short respite after having their Game 3 with Ingomar twice delayed because of rain.

St. Aloysius coach Clint Wilkerson’s rotation will carry onward into Trustmark without skipping a beat.

St. Al ace Evans (11-2) will get the start in Game 1, while Ryno Martin-Nez (5-2) will take the mound in Game 2. West Union finished its series on Monday and will likely be without sophomore ace Will Basil, who earned the win in Game 3 against Ingomar. Basil is 5-0 in the playoffs and likely won’t be available until Friday’s Game 2.

“Any time you can rest arms at this juncture, it’s an advantage,” Wilkerson said. “One disadvantage is not seeing live pitching for a while. But now, it’s just about getting it done.”

The two clubs couldn’t be different. St. Al started the season hot out of the gate, winning 12 of its first 13 games, kept up the momentum and missed a division title by only run differential with Stringer.

West Union (18-12), in contrast, started off the season 1-8 against a murder’s row of non-division opponents and had to win 17 of its last 21 games just to make it this far.

All of that matters little at this junction with just two wins separating champions from also-rans.

While the Flashes enjoyed Saturday’s South State title win over Stringer in Game 3, the title was not the one the St. Al players were seeking.

“Winning South State is a big honor and when we look back at this season, it’s always something we can be proud of,” Wilkerson said. “But we didn’t go into this season to win the South State championship. We want a state championship.

“A couple of them said after the game ‘we’ll enjoy this until Monday, but when Monday gets here, we’ve got to get back to work for what we’re trying to accomplish, win two baseball games and a state championship.’”


Contact Steve Wilson at