By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer
It didn’t take much research for French Camp Academy baseball coach Nathan Wright to come to the conclusion that his Panthers will have their hands full in the third round of the MHSAA Class 1A State Baseball Playoffs when they begin on Friday.
After a first round-bye and a two-game sweep of Bogue Chitto, FCA now takes on a team that has swept two series and hasn’t been scored on in the postseason.
“They have scored 40 runs and haven’t given up any,” said Wright of Natchez Cathedral. “That is not really encouraging. But, we know we need to go out there and get a couple runs and hope for our pitching and defense to hold them down.”
The Green Wave are set to visit FCA at 6 p.m. on Friday, before the Panthers travel to Natchez on Saturday. If a third game in the best-of-three series is necessary it will be played on Monday at French Camp at 6 p.m.
Cathedral defeated Noxapater 10-0, 10-0 in its first-round win and then dispatched Lumberton 10-0, 10-0 in the second round. In the mean time FCA was defeating Bogue Chitto 4-3 and 6-2.
“In game one we played well,” Wright said. “In game two we stunk it up offensively, but we scored more runs than we did in the first game. It just happens that way sometimes.”
Cole Henson picked up the win for the Panthers in the series opener, while Hagan Box was the winning pitcher in the second game.
“They both pitched pretty well,” Wright said. “They located the ball and made them beat us winging the bats. We were able to make some plays behind them and that was enough for us to win.”
FCA scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to break a 2-2 tie, before Bogue Chitto scored a single run in the top of the seventh to cut the final margin to one.
Henson struck out five and allowed just one earned run and two walks to pick up the win. He also had a hit and drove in a run at the plate. Box banged out a pair of doubles, scored a run and knocked in another, while Michael Erving, Hunter Vaughn, Colt Trehern and Jeremy Lowery had a single each.
Friday’s game saw French Camp scored three times in the top of the first inning and Box handle things from there. He struck out 10 batters, while walking just two and allowing only one earned run. He also led the team at the plate with a double and a single.
Brady Jackson and Brooks Warren each had singles for FCA, while Jeremy Lowery and Jackson had an RBI each.
French Camp goes into the series with a 14-5 overall record and a 9-2 mark at home. The Green Wave is 19-5 overall and has won six straight games.