By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer
Two days following his team’s elimination from the MHSAA Class 1A State Baseball Playoffs, French Camp Academy head coach Nathan Wright was still pondering what could have been.
“It was a sad day,” Wright said of his team’s 3-2 loss at Natchez Cathedral on Saturday to bring the 2014 season a close. “We are still licking our wounds. We had a great year. I really feel like we had as good a chance of anybody to win it. We were right there with the rest of them. We just couldn’t get some hits when we needed them.”
The Panthers dropped an 8-2 decision to visiting Cathedral on Friday, before dropping a 3-2 contest in the bottom of the seventh inning on Saturday. “We really felt like if we could have pushed it to three games then that would favor us,” Wright said of the best-of-three series. “We thought we were better suited to play three games than them.”
FCA, which finished the year at 14-7, trailed 2-1 going into the top of the seventh, but Michael Erving blasted a one-out homer to tie the game.
It looked as if French Camp was gong to get out of the seventh inning with a runner on third with two outs. But after a couple walks, Cathedral came through with the game-winning single. “That was the story,” Wright said. “They got the big hit and we didn’t.”
The fifth-inning was particularly disappointing to Wright and his Panthers. Cathedral scored two in the third and FCA picked up one in the fourth, then loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth.
“We thought about trying to bunt in a run, but decided to let them swing away and we had two strikeouts and a hard ground ball,” Wright said. “Not getting a run there really, really hurt us.”
Brooks Warren and Hagan Box had two hits each for the Panthers in the game, while Erving, Colt Trehern, Hunter McKnight and Cole Henson had a hit each.
Box pitched seven strong innings for FCA, striking out six and giving up just five hits and one earned run.
The first game of the series saw Cathedral’s Thomas Garrity strike out 10 and toss a no-hitter.
Despite not having a hit, FCA scored twice in the first to take an early lead. Cathedral hit for three in the third and three in the fifth before closing out the game with two in the seventh.