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Six CHS players named All-District

Cathedral High School first baseman McKenzie Milligan fields her position during the MHSAA Class 1A state championship series May 19 in Ridgeland. Milligan was one of seven Cathedral players that were selected to the All-District 7-1A team. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — All-District wasn’t on McKenzie Milligan’s mind during the season, but now that’s she’s gotten the award, the Cathedral High School first baseman said she feels like the hard work paid off.

Milligan joins teammates Ginny Daggett, Beth Fortenbery and Mollie and Kimble Devening on the first-team All-District 7-1A squad. Cathedral’s Mackenzie Watts and Payton Monticello made second-team.

“We all put a lot of hard work into the season, so it feels like I accomplished something,” Milligan said. “But it was the last thing on my mind. The only thing I could think about was the whole team going to state.”

And the Lady Green Wave did make it to state, only to fall one win short of a championship. Milligan said despite the disappointment in losing, the togetherness of the team made the 2012 season very special for her.

“The whole team gets along and is really close,” Milligan said. “It makes practice easy to go to, because we all have fun.”

Cathedral head coach Gary Blackwell said his only regret in having seven players named to the All-District squad was that the rest of his team didn’t make it.

“I wish they could have all gotten it,” Blackwell said. “Everyone played their position great. Everyone can’t get it, but these seven really worked hard and made some great plays during the year.”

Milligan said having players like Fortenbery, Daggett and the Devening twins made things a lot easier for her.

“Beth Fortenbery always has my back,” Milligan said. “When I couldn’t get to a popup, she’s there. Mollie and Ginny both pitched outstanding, and Kimble makes a lot of good plays and gets off her feet quick. They all took a weight off my shoulder, so there’s not as much stress in a game.”

Daggett said making All-District was nice simply because she could get her father, Rod, off her back.

“He’s always saying, ‘All-State, All-State,’” Daggett said. “It’s in the back of my mind sometimes, but softball is really just something that’s fun for me. Whenever I’m too serious about things, I don’t play as well.”

Fortenbery said she was thrilled to make All-District, and it was definitely something she was shooting for all year.

“I like to be the best I can be, and I feel like if someone is able to get better, they’re able to challenge other people to do better as well,” Fortenbery said. “It was something I challenged myself to do.”

Having almost won a state title, Fortenbery said she enjoyed the experience she had of making it to state her senior year.

“I’d trade (a state title appearance) for a state championship, but other than that, I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” Fortenbery said.

Blackwell said having Mollie Devening as pitcher and Kimble Devening as catcher makes things a lot easier for him as a coach.

“They just know how the other one is going to react in certain situations and what they’re going to do,” Blackwell said. “It’s a great help. They’re always working together, and they always have.”

Daggett said she’s glad seven Lady Green Wave players made All-District, and that it speaks to how far the program has come in just a few years.

“Considering that Cathedral came from absolutely nothing, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come,” Daggett said. “We all loved it. It wasn’t a case of who’s better than who, because we all loved the exact same game and all wanted the exact same thing.”