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Growing Wave: Cathedral softball team peaking in postseason run

Cathedral High School Grayson Bryant slides into second base with a double after batting in a run while evading the tag by Sebastopol High School’s Abby Winstead during Cathedral’s 10-1 victory in the second round of the MHSAA Class A state softball tournament. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Cathedral High School Grayson Bryant slides into second base with a double after batting in a run while evading the tag by Sebastopol High School’s Abby Winstead during Cathedral’s 10-1 victory in the second round of the MHSAA Class A state softball tournament. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Sebastopol High School entered its quarterfinal matchup against Cathedral High School averaging 13 runs per game in its last six wins. On Friday afternoon, in the second round of the MHSAA Class A playoffs, Sebastopol scored one unearned run while Cathedral totaled 10.

“Our girls were ready,” said Cathedral head coach Gary Blackwell of the 10-1 win. “The girls came out focused, and we were seeing the ball really well.”

While Marty Lewis limited Sebastopol’s offense to just two hits and one unearned run on a throwing error in the first inning, Cathedral racked up 12 hits.

McKenzie Milligan started the Lady Wave off with a single in the first inning before Elizabeth Smith belted a two-run home run to give Cathedral a 2-1 lead. The home run marked Smith’s second straight game with a home run.

“I really didn’t think I hit it out,” Smith said. “I was just trying to get on base and get a base hit.”

In the ensuing inning, after Grayson Bryant and Emily Rasco recorded singles, Milligan cleared the bases with a two-out triple, extending Cathedral’s lead to 4-1.

Meanwhile, Lewis continued to produce ground balls and flyouts for her defense behind her.

“Marty did a fantastic job,” Blackwell said. “This team has been scoring a lot of runs, but Marty’s pitching kept them off-balanced.”

Lewis had strong defensive play behind her, as Abby Brown made a diving catch near the first-base foul line. Blackwell said the play resembled the extra effort his team has been putting out as of late, and it’s produced winning results. Blackwell said Cathedral has a chip on its shoulder, feeling overlooked in getting to this point of the postseason.

“Nobody expected us to get this far,” Blackwell said. “When I talk to them they say, ‘Coach, we know.’ They talk about it amongst themselves.”

Milligan led off the fourth inning with a triple and Mackenzie Watts, Brown and Bryant each followed with doubles to give Cathedral a 10-1 lead.

With the victory, Cathedral takes a 1-0 lead in the series. The Lady Wave will travel to play Sebastopol at 3 p.m. Saturday. Should Sebastopol win, the teams will play immediately after the second game to decide the winner of the series.