Gatling, Beesley shine for Class 1A champion Flashes|Summer baseball

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A lot of high school baseball teams take it easy during the summer as they undergo their version of spring training.

Coaches get to shuffle players into unfamiliar positions and fill out their pitching staffs.

St. Aloysius enters its busy summer with a business-like air after winning the Class 1A title just weeks ago in Trustmark Park.

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Warren Central and St. Al squared off Tuesday at Bazinsky Field, with the Flashes taking a 3-1 victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader.

Josh Eargle, who pitched effectively last season, earned the win.

The key for St. Al coach Clint Wilkerson is treading a line between giving his junior varsity players, who will be on varsity in a few short years, needed work and making sure that his veterans get in some reps.

“We’re working on some of the basic stuff with our younger guys and we’re trying to keep the older guys who have played crisp and work on some of their weaknesses,” Wilkerson said. “We’re going to bounce some guys around and find our chemistry for next year’s team.”

One key position Wilkerson will have to fill is the gaping void at catcher left by Sean Weaver, who will be catching for Hinds Community College next season. Brendan Beesley, who platooned in left field last season, has taken over behind the plate.

“It’s different,” Beesley, who will be a senior next season, said. “But I feel like I can do it, no doubt.”

Wilkerson is excited about Beesley’s work behind the plate this summer. Beesley caught the first game, while Stephen Evans caught the second game.

With the furnace-like heat of the Mississippi summer hard on those behind the mask, Wilkerson elected to split up the reps.

“He’s doing well,” Wilkerson said. “Hopefully we won’t have to use Red (Evans) back there. But Red wanted to catch and we need to keep him sharp, just in case. But Beesley has caught the majority of our games this summer and he’s done a good job.”

One of the experiments that Wilkerson made on the lineup card was putting Judson Gatling in left field.

“I got him some innings out there and he did well,” Wilkerson said. “He hit the ball well and made some plays for us.”

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Contact Steve Wilson at swilson@vicksburgpost.com