Caledonia High School’s Cade Stacy threw a five-inning no-hitter against Yazoo City on Friday in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A State tournament. He walked one and struck out 13. Photo by: Contributed
April 24, 2018 10:15:02 AM
CALEDONIA -- Cade Stacy is a creature of habit.
The Caledonia High School junior leaves the dugout the same way every time. Not to call Stacy superstitious, but he hops over the foul lines going out to the field and coming off it.
In the dugout, Stacy likes to follow familiar habits, too. It didn't matter that Friday night was Game 1 of the team's Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A State tournament series against Yazoo City. Despite the importance of playing the first game on the road, Stacy talked with teammates and had a good time while keeping up with the game.
Stacy made the evening enjoyable for all of the Confederates with a dominating effort that worked against superstition.
The right-hander walked one and struck out 13 in a 10-0 victory that helped send Caledonia (15-11) to a playoff series win. The Confederates clinched the series with a 5-2 victory Saturday to advance to the second round, where they will face the winner of the series between Kosciusko and Corinth.
For his accomplishment, Stacy is The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week. He shares the award with West Point's Gray Berry, who also threw a no-hitter in his team's first-round playoff series victory.
"It was just one of those nights where I was commanding my fastball and I was setting up my offspeed pitches and they just couldn't hit it," Stacy said.
Stacy said he has hopped over foul lines all season. He doesn't remember when he started that practice, but he said he doesn't want to tempt fate and change things now. That strategy worked against Yazoo City, as he stayed out of trouble by getting ahead in counts and throwing only 69 pitches in the five-inning gem.
"It was just a steady pounding the zone and getting outs," said Stacy, who plays travel baseball with East Coast Baseball, which is based out of Columbus. "I had a bunch of 0-2, so I could work however I wanted to."
Stacy (4-3, 1.80 earned run average) said he has worked with Caledonia coach John Wilson and Bo Edmiston, his pitching coach, to get ahead of batters so he can control at-bats. Last season, he was 13 in 17 1/3 innings. This season, he has allowed 22 hits and 22 walks in 41 innings. He has struck out 66. Opponents are hitting .148 against him. The 13-strikeout effort was his second double-digit strikeout game of the season.
Stacy said he had good command earlier in the season, but he said there have been times when things haven't been what they should be. He said everything came together against Yazoo City. As good as it all felt, Stacy didn't was aware he hadn't given up a hit, but he tried not to think about it. He said he tried to take things slowly and concentrate on each hitter, which he believes aided his control.
Still, not thinking about a no-hitter is more difficult than it sounds, especially when you have had trouble getting ahead of hitters.
On this night, though, Stacy's focus was all there.
"Sometimes I would let an umpire's calls get to me and that would throw my rhythm off," Stacy said. "The other night I wasn't worrying too much about that. I guess that helped out a lot, focusing within myself and knowing what I can do and doing it."
Wilson said Stacy, who shared Most Valuable Pitcher honors in Class 4A, District 2, has worked hard not to overthrow. He also said Stacy has improved in his ability to control counts by getting ahead. Wilson said those conversations started in the summer and have continued into the 2018 seasons with strong results.
"No matter how hard you throw or what you throw, if you are 2-0 all of the time they are going to hit it," Wilson said. "You have to work ahead."
Wilson said he showed Stacy that 81 percent of batters make an out when he throws a first-pitch strike. He said there has been only one game -- against Amory -- in which Stacy had an elevated pitch count relatively early in the game. That wasn't a problem against Yazoo City.
"He threw well over there the other night," Wilson said. "He throws a breaking ball and a slider, and they're both pretty good. He has located a lot better. When he does that, the breaking ball makes him even better."
Caledonia's Houston Mims was co-Most Valuable Defensive Player in the district, while Beau Bates and Sawyer and Seth Brown were named first-team all-district. Westlee Honeycutt was named second-team all-district.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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