Flashes can’t get past Cathedral

Published 10:34 am Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cathedral’s Craig Bradley, right, slides into second base as St. Aloysius’ Lane Hynum tries to handle the throw during Monday’s game in Natchez. (Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat)

Cathedral’s Craig Bradley, right, slides into second base as St. Aloysius’ Lane Hynum tries to handle the throw during Monday’s game in Natchez. (Ben Hillyer/The Natchez Democrat)

By Jake Martin

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Cathedral defeated St. Aloysius 3-0 on Monday night to go a perfect 6-0 in Division 7-1A, but St. Al coach Steve Hancock believes one call had a dramatic impact on the outcome.

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In the fifth inning, down 2-0 to the Green Wave, St. Aloysius’ Jacob Breeden came to bat with a man on first and one out. Breeden lined a shot between first and second base as Connor Smith looked to advance to second. Smith made it to third base when the umpire called him out, ruling that the line drive hit Smith as he was making his way to second.

“You’re not going to have a line drive hit a runner and there be no effect on the runner and no effect on the ball,” Hancock said. “It’s not going to stay on a straight line, and if that guy gets pegged by a line drive, he’s going to look like he just got snipered. It was one of the worst calls I’ve seen in a long time.”

As the game stalled with the umpires trying to figure out what happened, Cathedral coach Craig Beesley walked out of the dugout, pointing out the umpire initially called him out.

“I knew the runner had stopped running between first and second, so I knew something happened,” Beesley said. “I didn’t know how hard it hit him because the ball continued through, but I knew the umpire called it right off the bat. That’s why I came out.”

Cathedral pitcher Sam Parker then struck out Lane Hynum to end the inning and his night. Parker pitched five innings, allowing no runs on three hits.

In the bottom of the fifth, Cathedral’s Pate Shirley gave his team a bigger lead, as he crushed a Breeden fastball out of the park to make it 3-0.

“He threw me a fastball right down the middle, and it looked like a beach ball coming right down the plate,” Shirley said. “I took a good hack at it.”

Breeden was the last of four pitchers Hancock used in the game. St. Al finishes the regular season tonight against Vicksburg, then starts the Class 1A playoffs on Thursday.

Shirley finished 2-for-2 with a double and a home run. Zach Flattmann had a double, as well, scoring Craig Bradley in the first inning. Brock Farmer hit an RBI fielder’s choice in the third inning.

Gabe Smith relieved Parker in the sixth inning. He struck out two and allowed no runs and no hits to earn the save.

Beesley was impressed with his team’s defense, specifically center fielder J.J. Jenkins’ distance covered in the outfield.

“J.J. gets the best jump on the ball coming off the bat that we’ve had in a long time,” Beesley said. “We made some plays on defense.”

Cathedral (14-2) had already clinched the Division 7-1A championship. Its first-round playoff opponent, McAdams, forfeited the series so Cathedral will advance unscathed into the second round. It’ll play Northwest Rankin on Friday in a tune-up game.

St. Al (10-10, 3-3 Division 7-1A) finished third in the division and will play either Sebastopol or Ethel in the first round of the Class 1A playoffs. The Flashes will be on the road for Game 1 of the best-of-three series on Thursday. They’ll host Game 2 at Bazinsky Field on Friday, and be back on the road Saturday if a Game 3 is necessary.