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Lady Wave on to state

Ben Hillyer| The Natchez Democrat — Cathedral’s Mollie Devening, Kimble Devening and Beth Fortenbery mob Ginny Daggett Monday evening after the Green Wave defeated Nanih Waiya for the 1A South State Championship. Daggett pitched 14 innings to pick up both wins in Game 2 and Game 3 against the Warriors.

NATCHEZ — The Cathedral School softball team faced elimination twice Monday night against Nanih Waiya, and Green Wave senior Ginny Daggett twice put her team on her back and drove it to victory.

Ben Hillyer | The Natchez Democrat — Daggett hurls the softball to the plate during the Green Wave’s 5-2 win in Game 3.

Cathedral’s defense took the field 14 times Monday and each time it was Daggett who stepped inside the circle to throw the pitches — nearly 200 of them.

In two complete games Daggett allowed just four runs and four hits, while striking out a total of 17 batters. She also collected five hits to lead the Green Wave to victories of 4-2 and 5-2 and a South State Championship.

“I was tired toward the end of the ball game, but I just kept saying, ‘You’re not tired, you’re not tired,’ and that’s what kept me going,” Daggett said.

In the end Daggett’s pitching performances led her and her teammates to a place she did not think was possible.

“All I had in my mind was, ‘We are going to state,’” she said. “It feels awesome. I kind of didn’t think we were going to win, because it was like it was a dream.”

After Daggett allowed just two runs on two hits in the first game of the afternoon to force a deciding third contest, Cathedral head coach Gary Blackwell said there was no doubt he was going with Daggett again.

“Ginny was on fire,” Blackwell said. “I knew if she could throw her game we’d be fine. We knew we weren’t going to take her out. She was going until she got tired or she was missing.”

Blackwell said he was especially excited for Daggett and fellow senior Beth Fortenbery, because the Green Wave got close and fell short of a South State title last season.

“I’m glad for our seniors,” Blackwell said. “These two have been playing since seventh grade and building up for this. We worked for it last year, but they didn’t get down and started this year working hard.”

Cathedral put itself in a must-win situation by dropping Game 1 10-0 at Nanih Waiya Thursday, and Blackwell said his team was confident Monday that it could win two.

“The first game we really didn’t play bad,” he said. “They hit the ball, but we knew we could play with them. This team never gives up”

The Green Wave scored first in Game 1 when Mckenzie Milligan reached on a single and scored on a wild pitch.

Nanih Waiya took a 2-1 lead with runs in the second and third innings, but Cathedral answered with two runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good.

The Green Wave did all of its damage with two outs. Kimble Devening started things with a two-out single. Daggett then doubled off the right-field fence to score Devening. Daggett later scored on a Nanih Waiya error.

The 3-2 lead was plenty for Daggett after that. She retired the final 13 Nanih Waiya batters she faced to hold the Lady Warriors at two runs.

Cathedral added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Devening scored from third when Tori Edwards was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Daggett went 2-for-2 at the plate for Cathedral in Game 1. Devening scored twice.

Nanih Waiya took the first lead of the final game in the top of the first inning when Reagan Holdiness hit a solo home run over the center-field fence.

Cathedral answered with three runs in the bottom of the first. Milligan again led the game off with a single and came around to score on a Daggett hit. Mollie Devening drove Daggett in with a single, and Edwards scored Fortenbery with a single.

Holdiness got Daggett again in the top of the third with another solo home run to cut the Cathedral lead to 3-2.

But the Green Wave would answer again in the bottom of the third with two runs. Daggett singled to lead of the inning and came around to score. Payton Monticello also scored in the inning after walking.

Daggett did not surrender a hit after Holdiness’ second home run. She struck out five of the last seven batters she faced in the game and finished with nine strikeouts.

“I told myself, ‘They can’t take it from us,’” Daggett said about pitching the final innings. “I wanted to shut them down.”

Mollie Devening finished Game 2 2-for-4 at the plate, and Daggett went 3-for-4.

Cathedral (21-6-1) will play for the MHSAA Class 1A State Championship starting Friday in Ridgeland.