Cathedral takes Game 1 of state championship series 5-2

Published 12:01 am Saturday, May 19, 2012

RIDGELAND — And then there was one.

With a strong pitching performance by senior Ginny Daggett, Cathedral High School took the first game 5-2 in a best-of-three state championship series against Smithville High School in Ridgeland.

The Lady Green Wave (22-6-1) are just one win away from capturing the MHSAA Class 1A state title. Game 2 of the series is at 11 a.m. today, with Game 3 immediately following, if necessary.

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Daggett got the win for Cathedral, going all seven innings and giving up two runs on five hits. She issued just one walk and struck out nine Smithville batters.

“Ginny pitched a wonderful game,” Cathedral head coach Gary Blackwell said. “In the first inning, it was three up, three down. Through two innings, she faced seven batters. She was on fire, and we shut them down all the way through the last inning.”

Three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning made the difference for Cathedral. With a 2-0 lead, Cathedral’s Laura Ellett singled, then Mackenzie Watts reached on an error by Smithville. Mckenzie Milligan singled to load the bases, then Daggett hit a bases-clearing double, giving Cathedral a 5-0 lead.

The Lady Green Wave ran into a little trouble in the top of the seventh, but Daggett recovered to get three outs and give Cathedral a 1-0 lead in the series.

“Thank goodness we were able to get those three runs in the sixth inning,” Blackwell said.

Cathedral scored two runs in the top of the first inning on a double by senior Beth Fortenbery that scored Milligan and Kimble Devening. Neither team scored after the first inning until Cathedral’s three-run sixth.

“It was a battle,” Blackwell said. “We hit the ball good, and we had runners on, we just couldn’t get them in when we really needed to for a while.”

The Lady Green Wave finished with 15 hits and had three errors. Milligan went 3-for-4, while Daggett and Fortenbery both finished 2-for-4. Mollie Devening was 2-for-3.

Even though it was uncharted waters for the Lady Green Wave, Blackwell said he was impressed with how his players buckled down to get the win.

“Being that it was our first time here, I’m sure they were as nervous as I was,” Blackwell said. “We finally got the jitters out, and it was just a good game overall.”

Blackwell also said he thinks his team’s business-like approach allowed them to play relaxed.

“They came up here in the zone ready to play,” Blackwell said. “I think the coaches were more nervous than the players. I just told them to go out there and do what they’ve been doing. (Today), I think they’ll be a little more settled.”