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Wave comes up short

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cathedral High School’s Mollie Devening hugs her mother Anna after losing the MHSAA Class 1A State Championship series to Smithville HIgh School Saturday afternoon at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland. Cathedral fell to Smithville in the third game of the series, 7-2.

RIDGELAND — A lack of timely hitting stymied the Lady Green Wave at a most untimely point in the postseason.

With just one victory needed to earn the MHSAA Class 1A crown, Cathedral seemed unable to muster the offense necessary to get over that one last hump.

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Cathedral’s Ginny Daggett flies to third base as Smithville’s Angel Guyton looks to tag her out. Daggett was safe.

Instead, after falling to Cathedral 5-2 in Game 1 Friday night, Smithville High School held Cathedral to just two runs in 14 innings of play, beating the Lady Green Wave 2-0 and 7-2 to capture the Class 1A title.

Cathedral managed eight hits in both games of Saturday’s state championship round doubleheader, but the Lady Green Wave could never get the big hit. Head coach Gary Blackwell said Lady Seminoles starter Meagan Whitehead’s changeup gave his players fits for a while.

“She had an awesome changeup, and she was using it,” Blackwell said. “We finally got to where we were hitting the changeup, but we just didn’t get our key hits.

“We had the bases loaded I don’t know how many times. When you have the bases loaded and can’t get a run in, it hurts.”

Mollie Devening got the start for the Lady Green Wave in Game 2, and she ran into trouble early. In the bottom of the second inning, Smithville’s Angel Guyton scored on a passed ball, and Katie King added a run when she came home on a fielder’s choice. It proved to be the only runs Smithville needed, as Cathedral couldn’t get any runs home against Whitehead.

Despite giving up five hits and walking four batters, Devening was able to limit the damage in Game 2. She went all seven innings for the Lady Green Wave, tallying two strikeouts.

Devening was also 3-for-3 at the plate in Game 2, and Mackenzie Watts went 2-for-3.

In Game 3, Smithville took an early lead when Taylor Ann Boozer singled off Lady Green Wave starter Ginny Daggett to score Guyton.

Game 3 was not without controversy. Kimble Devening had what appeared to be an RBI single in the bottom of the third, only to be ruled out when the home plate umpired ruled that she stepped out of the batter’s box before making contact.

But Daggett got the lead back for Cathedral in the next at-bat, lacing a two-RBI single in the bottom of the third inning that scored Watts and McKenzie Milligan, making it 2-1 Cathedral.

The Lady Green Wave went scoreless the rest of the way, however, and Smithville quickly took over in the top of the fourth inning. An RBI double by Claire McNeese tied the game 2-2, and the Lady Seminoles added two more runs on an RBI single and a fielder’s choice.

Smithville scored again in the top of the sixth inning when a bunt by Billie Claire Goode sailed over Daggett’s head for an RBI single. Boozer later came home on a fielder’s choice, making it 6-2 Smithville.

The Lady Seminoles added one more run in the top of the seventh when Laken Armstrong scored on a fielder’s choice.

The Lady Green Wave finished the season 22-8-1, and Blackwell said his girls should be proud of themselves despite coming one win short of a state title.

“Making it here is a feat in itself,” Blackwell said. “I told them to hold their heads up. Of course, it’s kind of sad to hear that, but they’ve done a great job just to get here, and they should be proud.”