Cathedral High School Kimble Devening, left,  reaches for second base as the ball eludes Stringer High School infielder Jaime Wade during the game on Friday evening. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Cathedral High School Kimble Devening, left, reaches for second base as the ball eludes Stringer High School infielder Jaime Wade during the game on Friday evening. (Jay Sowers \ The Natchez Democrat)

Early inning bunts pave way for Cathedral in playoff win

Published 12:01am Saturday, April 27, 2013

NATCHEZ — Cathedral High School got an early lead against Stringer High School and rode that Green Wave to a 6-2 victory in the second round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 1A playoffs Friday.

Cathedral scored five runs in the first inning and led 6-1 after two, while starting pitcher Mollie Devening had a strong performance to secure the win for the Lady Green Wave (16-7). Devening said pitching behind an early lead went a long way for her confidence on the mound.

“It gives you a lot of insurance,” Devening said of the strong start. “You don’t have to worry about one big hit ruining it for you. It calms you down out there.”

There were plenty of bunts to go around in the bottom of the first, and Stringer seemed to have trouble fielding them. After McKenzie Milligan and Kimble Devening reached for Cathedral in the bottom of the first, Mackenzie Watts laid down a bunt single to score Milligan. A double by Mollie scored Kimble, and Watts scored on a bunt single by Tori Edwards. Edwards then came home on a bunt single by Abby Brown.

“It was a great inning, and getting five runs definitely puts the pressure on them,” Cathedral head coach Gary Blackwell. “(Bunting) is just something we’ve been working on in the last couple of games, and it’s been working. I’m sure when we go back over there, they’re going to be ready for it. The bunts just went in the right places, and we were able to jump on them.”

Stringer got one of the runs back in the top of the second when Teshia Jones scored on a fielder’s choice. But Cathedral got the run back in the bottom half of the frame when Mollie hit a sacrifice fly to score Kimble from third.

Mollie kept Stringer scoreless for the next four innings before running into trouble in the top of the seventh. A few base runners reached, but only one run came across when Jones scored on a fielder’s choice.

“They’re always the hardest three outs to get — always,” Mollie said of the final three outs.

Stringer was limited to four hits and two walks by Mollie, who also finished with four strikeouts. Stringer’s Madison Scoggin took the loss, pitching all seven innings and giving up six runs on nine hits.

“My away pitches were working today,” Mollie said. “That’s what I usually throw, and it keeps them going to right field, and I get a lot of (groundball) outs at first base.”

Blackwell said Mollie has been in the zone for the last few games, and her performance couldn’t have come at a better time.

“She’s been on her game, and she’s keeping her composure,” Blackwell said. “If she gets into a bind, she works herself out of it. She’s ready — this is her senior year, and she wants to go all the way.”

Kimble was Cathedral’s only multiple hitter, going 2-for-4. Smith tallied a double for the Lady Green Wave.

Game 2 of the Lady Green Wave’s three-game series is at 2 p.m. today at Stringer. Game 3, if necessary, will immediately follow.