Cathedral alum Andrew Beesley had expectations of possibly coaching this fall after graduating from Louisiana-Monroe where he was a standout baseball player.
But because of Covid-19 and the fact his senior year was cut short, Beesley decided to take advantage of an NCAA ruling allowing seniors to return for another year.
"It was a tough decision," Beesley said. "I finally decided to give it one more year and finish my senior year the right way. I feel like it was taken from me. And it's great being around all the guys again."
Beesley was hitting .400 and earned Sun Belt Player of the Week honors before injuring his foot sliding into second base against McNeese State, pulling the anterior talofibular ligament in his ankle on Saturday, March 7.
He missed the Sunday game against McNeese and was listed as doubtful for a two-game series with Ole Miss, which ended up being ULM's last games because of the virus.
Beesley, who earned Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference Team recognition before the season, had four doubles, one triple and a home run. He had drawn 13 walks, striking out only five times.
ULM's home series with Sun Belt foe Arkansas State that weekend was eventually cancelled. As was the rest of the season.
"That was tough, but there are more important things going on," Beesley said. "It was tough the first couple of days, but with this virus going around I knew that everyone really needed to stay safe."
Beesley was second-team All-Sun Belt as a utility player last year, hitting .329 on the season. He had 11 doubles, one triple and three home runs, scoring 38 runs, driving in 37, walking 28 times and only striking out 23 times.
Beesley, who had to add some classes this year to be eligible to play, made starts at first base, left field, right field and as a designated hitter.
"It's still up in the air this year where I'll play," Beesley said. "I've been concentrating on my hitting and putting up good numbers this season."
ULM starts fall practice next week.
"Only a few players can be allowed on the field at a time," Beesley said. 'It's kind of crazy all the rules, but I understand it. I'm certainly doing my best to avoid it. It's not so much I'm worried about getting it as much as I don't want to give it to somebody who cannot handle it."
Beesley came to ULM after a sophomore season at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Ms., where he was named MVP of team, hitting .476 with eight home runs for the Eagles. As a freshman he hit .385 with a home run.
Beesley earned MVP honors at Cathedral in 2016, leading the Green Wave to a 24-5 record.
As a junior, Beesley was named Most Valuable Hitter with a .476 batting average for the 25-4 state champion Green Wave team.
Beesley spent part of this past summer helping his father, Craig Beesley, who along with being the Wave baseball coach, also coaches the Cathedral softball team in the summer which is when the MSAIS plays softball.
"I really enjoyed that," Beesley said. "I learned a lot of things from my dad over the years on the field, and now I learn even more coaching with him -- how to handle different situations and other aspects of the game. It was an awesome experience."
Beesley said he glanced at the Major League Baseball Draft, which was changed up this summer because of the virus.
Compensation picks were distributed for players who did not sign from the 2019 MLB draft and for teams who lost qualifying free agents.
On March 26, 2020, MLB and the MLBPA reached a deal that included the option to shorten the draft to five rounds, and also shorten the 2021 draft to 20 rounds. MLB ultimately opted to shorten the 2020 draft to five rounds, in a plan to allow teams to sign an unlimited amount of undrafted players for $20,000 each.
"I kept my mind off of it because I knew it wouldn't work out," Beesley said. "And that's another reason I decided to come back. I want a chance to prove I belong at the next level."