Silliman Institute is seeking to add a third state title in 12 months to its collection beginning Monday with a best-of-three baseball series against Cathedral Catholic.
Silliman won the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class 2A state baseball title last May. The Wildcats, led by senior quarterback Zach Kelly and others, moved up to MAIS Class 3A this season and won the state football title.
Kelly, pitcher Tre’ Berthelot, catcher Brian Siebert, shortstop Cole Jackson and first baseman Michael Davidson are among the 11 seniors who have helped guide the Wildcats to a 22-8 record and into the Class 3A championship series against Cathedral Catholic (24-3). Silliman travels to Natchez, Mississippi, for Monday’s 6 p.m. first game. The second game is Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in Clinton. A third game, if necessary, would follow.
“I feel pretty good about our chances if the kids remain focused,” said Silliman coach John Beauchamp, who was a player on the 2002 state championship team. “We have a talented group of kids that play well together in multiple sports. All of the Silliman coaches have worked to create a winning culture. This senior group is special and has really bought in.”
Silliman is seeking its fourth state baseball title and first repeat title. Silliman was 23-7 last season.
“Cathedral Catholic is a good team with some outstanding pitchers,” Beauchamp said. “One of the strengths of our team is our defense.”
Centerfielder Kelly leads the outfield and shortstop Jackson leads the infield. Kelly, a Princeton football signee, had two diving catches in the last playoff round. Silliman is 6-0 in the playoffs.
Berthelot (8-0, 1.40 ERA) gets the start Monday. Beauchamp said he’d decide between freshman Beau Lockhart or senior Odom Stagg for Thursday.
“Tre’ Berthelot gets ahead in the count and throws strikes,” Beauchamp said. “He’s a presence on the mound and has good movement on his pitches.”
Kelly leads the team in hits (48), batting average (.500) and stolen bases (19). Siebert (.414) leads the team with 27 RBIs. Kelly has 26 RBIs. Siebert and Kelly have two homers each.
“Brian Siebert has done a good job behind the plate on defense and working with our pitchers,” Beauchamp said. “He’s been one of our better hitters.
“We do like to be aggressive on the base paths. We’re really excited about this opportunity. The seniors have already graduated. We’re just concentrating on baseball now.”
Beauchamp said sophomore third baseman Myles Simmons, who bats second, is hitting over .400 in the playoffs.