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Cathedral seniors earn leadership roles through hard work

Cathedral’s Mackenzie Watts, left, and Mckenzie Milligan have been contributors for the Cathedral softball team since they were eighth graders. Now, as the lone seniors for the 2015 team, Watts and Milligan have helped lead the Lady Wave to a district championship. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Cathedral’s Mackenzie Watts, left, and Mckenzie Milligan have been contributors for the Cathedral softball team since they were eighth graders. Now, as the lone seniors for the 2015 team, Watts and Milligan have helped lead the Lady Wave to a district championship. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — For Cathedral seniors Mckenzie Milligan and Mackenzie Watts, ball is life, and life has brought them together.

The self-proclaimed packaged deal met on a ball field as young children. Watt’s mother Kirby Watts and Milligan’s father Tommy Milligan coached together in the Natchez Softball League for coach pitch, introducing the two. Since befriending one another on the softball field, Mckenzie and Mackenzie would become inseparable, because both had a common interest that they both excelled at — ball.

As the years passed, they got better, and Milligan and Watts each earned playing time as seventh and eighth graders for the Cathedral softball team. And while it was an accomplishment to gain playing time at such a young age, each faced their share of adversity.

“It was intimidating because we were just little kids,” Watts said. “I think the older kids felt like we didn’t deserve to play.”

Despite the early struggles, Watts and Milligan’s friendship grew, as the cornerstone of their friendship remained the same.

“It’s always been sports related,” Milligan said. “Before games, we’ll go eat somewhere. But we see each other every day.”

With age came experience, and both Milligan and Watts continued to evolve as ball players. As the lone seniors on the Lady Wave, in 20 games played, Milligan is batting .500 with four RBI, while Watts is batting .373 with 24 RBI and two home runs. However, most importantly to them, Cathedral secured a district title by beating Bogue Chitto 9-3 on April 9. The district win marks the first time in three years that Cathedral has won its district. Had their senior seasons turned out any other way, Watts and Milligan felt it would have shared the blame.

“It’s kind of a lot because now that we’re the seniors, if anything goes wrong, it comes back on us,” Watts said.

It didn’t hurt being the oldest, either. This time, when Milligan and Watts instructed direction toward their teammates, they listened and responded positively.

Becoming leaders took years of hard work and dedication, both seniors attested, and it was their friendship that helped pave the way, keeping them on course for a hopeful playoff push.

“We’re ready to make (a long run),” Milligan said.