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Cathedral softball edges Brookhaven

Cathedral base runner Mackenzie Watts slides safely into second base ahead of the tag from Brookhaven High School infielder Taylor Murray during the game at Cathedral on Thursday evening. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Cathedral base runner Mackenzie Watts slides safely into second base ahead of the tag from Brookhaven High School infielder Haley Speaks during the game at Cathedral on Thursday evening. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — There were no walkoff heroics, but after going back and forth with Brookhaven High School Thursday evening, Cathedral High School will take it.

Trailing 10-9 in the bottom of the eighth, Cathedral scored two runs without even tallying a hit to come back and win 11-10. After the game was tied 9-9 at the end of seven, both coaches agreed to begin each extra inning with one runner on second.

For Cathedral, that runner, Claire Upton, went to third on a passed ball after McKenzie Milligan walked. On the ensuring at-bat, Brookhaven attempted to pick off Upton at third, but the throw was off, sending it into the outfield.

Upton scored easily, and the Brookhaven left fielder also misplayed the ball, allowing Milligan to score from first to give Cathedral an odd walkoff win.

“It was just a good game,” Cathedral head coach Gary Blackwell said. “It was 6-2 at one point, and we made a couple of errors that let them back in the ball game, but I was really proud of how we kept our composure through it all and came back and were able to get the win.”

The Lady Green Wave’s Mollie Devening got the win, pitching all eight innings and giving up six earned runs on nine hits. She also struck out 13, walked one and hit two batters.

“Mollie did a fantastic job,” Blackwell said. “She was hitting her spots, and she also kept her composure. She just threw a great game.”

Cathedral scored three in the bottom of the first to take an early lead. Devening doubled in Mackenzie Watts, and Kimble Devening reached on an error that also scored Mollie. Kimble would later score on a passed ball.

In the bottom of the third, a single by Mollie sent home Milligan, and a double by Elizabeth Smith scored both Mollie and Kimble.

Brookhaven started its comeback in the top of the fourth when starter Katherine Shell hit a two-run home run. But a five-run fifth inning is where Brookhaven did most of its damage.

Cathedral committed two errors and dropped two balls in foul territory to allow Brookhaven to take the lead 7-6. But the Lady Green Wave got the run back in the bottom of the fifth on a controversial play. Watts scored from third on a fielder’s choice by Elizabeth Smith, but Watts was initially ruled out. Blackwell appealed to the third-base umpire, who ruled Watts safe.

“He was behind the plate, so he couldn’t see it,” Blackwell said of the home-plate umpire. “I could, and she never had control of it. Thank goodness he let me appeal it. The umpire in the field saw what we did — that she dropped the ball.”

The Brookhaven fan base wasn’t too pleased with the call, and a couple of fans exchanged heated words with the home-plate umpire. After things settled down, Brookhaven recorded the third out, and the game was tied 7-7.

The Lady Panthers scored two more runs in the top of the sixth, but Cathedral added two runs in the bottom of the six to tie it 9-9. Neither team scored in the seventh inning, sending the game into extras.

Like Cathedral, Brookhaven began the eighth with a runner on second, who went on to score and make it 10-9 Lady Panthers before Cathedral’s two-run bottom of the eighth.

Milligan finished the game 2-for-4, while Watts was 2-for-3 with a double. Elizabeth Smith had a double, and Mollie went 3-for-4 with a double.

“She helps herself when she gets the bat,” Blackwell said of his starter. “She’s been hammering the ball this year.”

Cathedral (5-2-1) will return to action March 21 when it hosts West Lincoln for its first regional game.

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