The pause in the 2020 high school softball season could not have come at a worse time for the Central High Lady Red Devils – sport-wise. The team is riding a seven-game win streak and just captured its first area victory of the season, 10-7 over rival Smiths Station High. But, for now at least, the season is on break for the next two weeks.
The Alabama High School Athletic Association informed schools last Friday that it was ordering a pause to the season after games played on Wednesday, March 18, for the next 2.5 weeks. The AHSAA in a memo to schools said “all athletic events including, but not limited to, contests, practices, weight-lifting and conditioning are hereby suspended during this time.”
Mitchell Holt’s Lady Red Devils made the best of their last games before the shut down by winning all four they had last week – 13-3 over Prattville Christian, 10-7 over Smiths Station, 15-2 over Montgomery Catholic and 2-1 over Prattville Christian.
“We had another great week, 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the area. We were able to jump out on PCA and put up a lot of runs up on Monday,” Holt said. “Smiths Station is always a challenge. They are going to always play tough and you have to weather the storm each time you play them. Fortunately, for us we were able to have a large enough lead that the mistakes we made didn’t cost us.
“An area win is always a big win, no matter if it’s by one run or eight runs. We were able to play two games Saturday and it was great to have the girls, especially the seniors, on the field. We do not know what the next few weeks and months hold for us, but I have faith that we will be able to play again. I told the team Saturday that they are a great team. Off the field, they have love for each other that is very seldom seen in today’s world where many choose to put themselves first.
“In our first 18 games, they have overcome many obstacles and haven’t missed a beat. They have had significant players out for different reasons and the next young lady steps up and fills that spot. The expectations do not change, only the player in the positions. As we go on this break, we currently sit at 15-3. Nothing we have done this far has any impact on how we play when we return, but I am absolutely sure of one thing and that is the character of our young ladies. That will carry our team through anything. This season our motto is, ‘As one.’ We struggle as one, we overcome as one and we love as one. We will see the other side of this break, as one.”
The most important game last week was against area rival Smiths Station. The Lady Red Devils ran out to a 10-3 lead before having to hang on to win the contest 10-7 when Smiths Station rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh inning.
The Lady Panthers actually led 1-0 after the first half of an inning as Teena Morgan had a solo home run. But, Central’s girls scored four times in the bottom of the inning to lead 4-1. Mackinnon Howard walked to start the inning and scored when Shelby Newsome tripled. Newsome scored on a sacrifice fly by Madison Hurt. Jaleigh Hardin had a solo home run. Nayelica Diaz walked, took second and third bases on a double by Lane Thaxton. Diaz scored on a wild pitch.
In the bottom of the second inning, Bailey Davis singled, stole second base and took third base on a ground out. Newsome was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Davis scored on a wild pitch.
In the third inning, Central added two runs after Smiths Station cut its lead to 5-2. Diaz singled to start the inning and Thaxton followed with a home run to make the score 7-2.
The score went to 8-2 in the fourth inning when Hardin had a two-out single, went to third on a double by Diaz and scored on a single by Fallyn Jordan.
Smiths Station cut the lead to 8-3 with a run in the fifth inning. In the sixth inning, Central added two more runs to lead 10-3. With two outs, Diaz walked. Thaxton reached base on an error. Diaz and Thaxton scored when Jordan doubled.
In the top of the seventh, Smiths Station used a single, three Central errors and a walk to score four runs and lost 10-7.
Hardin, Diaz, Thaxton and Hardin each had two hits for Central. Hardin and Thaxton each had home runs. Jordan had three RBIs and Thaxton had two.
Desalynn Nesbitt was the winning pitcher for Central. She went 4.2 innings, allowed six hits and struck out five.