View the photo gallery verses Jeff Davis here
View the Sidney Cooper Invitational gallery here
By Mark Clark
The Central High Lady Red Devils won four of their first six games last week and left their coach feeling good about their efforts. Central coach Mitchell Holt said his team made youthful, early season mistakes, but nothing that could not be corrected with playing time and practice.
“It was a very good first week. We ended up 4-2 and showed a lot of fight against Holtville in a 10-8 loss. In our other loss to Hewitt-Trussville, we left too many runners on base and did not finish like we should have,” Holt said.
Central’s girls started the 2019 softball season with a 12-0 rout of Calera. They followed that win with a 10-8 loss to Holtville. The team then reeled off three straight victories over Jeff Davis 15-8, Gulf Shores 10-0 and Stanhope Elmore 2-1. They finished the week with an 8-3 loss to Hewitt-Trussville. The last four games were in the annual Sidney Cooper Invitational Tournament played at the softball fields at South Commons in Columbus.
“We proved to ourselves we can play with the best teams, but we have to learn to finish games. You are always remembered for how you finish. Early in the season is for learning who you are and what you can do. We had a lot of girls contribute this week. Some of them were performing as varsity players for the first time. We are excited about the rest of the season,” Holt said.
Central jumped to a 6-0 lead over Calera in its season opener in the bottom of the first inning. The Lady Red Devils had eight hits in the inning, including two by Bailey Davis. Kristen White, Jaleigh Hardin, Kyleigh McHargue, Brianna Murray, Fallyn Jordan and Davis each scored a run in the inning.
In the third inning, Breanna Leininger had a two-run home run to up the lead to 8-0. Before the inning was over, White doubled, Davis walked and both scored on a triple by Nayelica Diaz to make the score 10-0.
In the fourth inning, Jordan walked and scored on a two-out single by White. White scored when Kahia Nicholson doubled to make the final score 12-0.
Davis was 2-for-2, Nicholson and Leininger were both 1-for-1, White was 3-for-4, McHargue was 2-for-3 and Diaz and Murray were both 1-for-2 at the plate. White, Nicholson and Murray each had a double.
Leininger was the winning pitcher for Central. She allowed three hits over four innings.
In the loss to Holtville, Desalynn Nesbitt took the pitching loss. McHargue and Murray were each 2-for-3. Davis was 2-for-4 with a double. Lane Thaxton was 1-for-2 with a home run. Jordan was 1-for-3 with three RBIs. Diaz was 1-for-4 with a double in the loss.
Central opened the Sidney Cooper Invitational Tournament with a 15-8 victory over Jeff Davis. The Lady Red Devils had to rally from a 4-1 deficit to win. They overcame the deficit with five runs in the bottom of the third inning.
Murray was the winning pitcher, going four innings, allowing eight hits and striking out four.
At the plate, White was 2-for-2. Shakala Warrior was 1-for-1 with two RBIs. Davis, Diaz and McHargue were each 2-for-3. Diaz had a home run, a triple and three RBIs. McHargue had a double with four RBIs. Murray was 1-for-3 with a home run.
Central routed Gulf Shores 10-0 in its second game of the tournament. Nesbitt was the winning pitcher, allowing two hits and striking out five.
Davis, Murray and Jordan were each 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Lady Red Devils. Murray had a double and Jordan had two RBIs. Hardin and Diaz were both 1-for-3. Hardin had three RBIs and Diaz had a double. McHargue was 1-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.
Nesbitt picked up a pitching victory in relief of Leininger in Central’s 2-1 win over Stanhope Elmore. Nesbitt gave up a hit and struck out four. Leininger allowed six hits and struck out two.
Diaz and Leininger were both 1-for-1 at the plate while Madison Hurt was 1-for-2. Diaz and Leininger both had doubles.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the sixth inning, Hardin reached base with a walk. She was replaced by Mckinnon Howard on the bases. Howard stole second. McHargue then had a walk-off single to end the game 2-1.
Central was eliminated from the tournament with an 8-3 loss to Hewitt-Trussville. The Lady Red Devils led 3-0 until the top of the sixth inning when Hewitt-Trussville rallied for eight runs to win.
Nesbitt took the pitching loss for Central. White was 2-for-3 at the plate to lead the Lady Red Devils. Leininger was 1-for-1 with a double. Murray was 1-for-2. McHargue and Jordan were each 1-for-3. McHargue had two RBIs and Jordan had a double.
Central is scheduled to play in the Auburn High Round Robin beginning today against Hatton. Next Monday, Central will be on the road at Tallassee. On Tuesday, the Lady Red Devils will be at home to face Beauregard in a 6 p.m. ET contest.