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Leadoff winner: Cathedral notches first district win with improved offense

Baylee Graning did nothing special Tuesday night. She simply got on base.

As her team’s leadoff hitter, Graning did her part in the 11-hit night for Cathedral School (3-5, 1-0) as the Lady Wave took down Central Private for a victory in its first district game of the season, 11-1.

Graning took to the plate in the bottom of the first inning, took a strong swing and reached base on a leadoff single.

The Lady Wave scored two runs in their first offensive frame, which Graning said was a much-needed change.

“It really helps,” she said. “I’m a senior so I feel like I have to help get the momentum up. It’s a lot of pressure on me, but it really made a difference.”

Graning — who did not register a hit Monday in Cathedral’s 2-1 win over Franklin Academy — said Tuesday’s win felt like a new beginning.

“It was amazing,” she said. “It felt like the first game and like we were really gelling again.”

Cathedral coach Craig Beesley agreed the change was nice to see, especially considering the confidence boost it brings.

“We have been struggling at the plate, but we swung the bat pretty well today,” he said. “Hopefully we can continue that because we have been talking a lot about the mental side of it, not just the physical side.

“Right now some of these girls’ confidence is down, but they just have to push through it.”

Mia Gamberi continued the leadoff trend in the second inning as she reached base on a walk. In the third, fourth and fifth innings, Cathedral’s leadoff’s were all forced out by Central Private’s defense. However, the second batter all reached base.

“If you get the leadoff batter on, you have got to be able to score,” Beesley said. “It just makes things so much easier and let’s us move runners around. It’s very important and makes the inning flow so much smoother.

“Not only does it give us confidence, but it puts pressure on the defense. I was just glad to see us put it in play instead of giving up the easy strikeouts.”

Beesley said he, too, was pleased with Cathedral’s defense.

Addison Jackson pitched all five innings for the win, recording eight strikeouts with no walks.

“I know what I’m going to get our of her every night. She’s consistent,” Beesley said. “The way she has been staying away from walks, we should be all right going forward.”

Graning ended the night with two hits and three runs scored. Jackson, Fisher Iseminger and Hailey Ellis also finished with two hits, respectively.

Cathedral will be back in action at 6:15 p.m. Monday when it hosts Silliman Institute. The junior varsity game will begin at 5 p.m.

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