By Mark Clark
Being successful has been a way of life for the Central High Lady Red Devils over the course of the previous six seasons in Area 4. But, not this year.
The Lady Red Devils came up short in the area race and will only share the title if they can win the Area 4 tournament in the postseason. Why? Well, Central lost its second game of the season in Area 4 play last Tuesday night, a 9-4 loss to Auburn High.
The result of the loss was an Area 4 regular season title for the Tigers. Auburn ran its area record to 3-0 with the victory with only a game against Smiths Station remaining. Central had a game with the Panthers remaining after the loss to Auburn. Central and Smiths were scheduled to play in a game that had no consequences in the area title race for Central.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Central will play Smiths Station in the first round of the Area 4 tournament with the winner taking on Auburn. The loser of the Smiths Station-Central game will await the loser of the Auburn-Smiths Station vs. Central game in the double elimination event.
Central watched Auburn win the regular season area title at its field last week with a 9-4 victory. Central, 22-14, took an early lead and then saw Auburn pull away slowly.
In the bottom of the first inning, Central scored the game’s first run. Kristen White singled, stole second and took third on a sacrifice bunt by Madison Hurt. She scored when Jaleigh Hardin grounded out. Central led 1-0.
Auburn took the lead in the top of the third inning with a pair of runs. The Tigers added three more runs in the fourth to lead 5-1. In the fifth inning, Auburn added four more runs and led 9-1.
Central cut the margin to 9-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hurt started the inning with a single. Shelby Newsome followed with a single. Hardin then hit a three-run home run.
Gracie Deaton took the pitching loss for Central against Auburn. Newsome led Central at the plate, going 1-for-2. Tatyana Harris, Hurt and Hardin were each 1-for-3. Hardin had a home run and three RBI.
After the loss to Auburn, Central took another loss when it fell to Alabama Christian Academy 5-1.
Briana Murray was the losing pitcher. White was 3-for-4 to lead Central at the plate. Hurt was 1-for-2. Deaton and Newsome were each 1-for-3. Deaton had a solo home run.
Alabama Christian scored a pair of runs in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. They scored three more runs in the sixth inning to lead 5-1.
Central scored its only run in the seventh inning on solo home run by Deaton.
Central was slated to play at Smiths Station this past Tuesday, after Citizen press time. Today, the squad will be at home to face Stanhope Elmore. Next Tuesday, Central will be on the road to play Beauregard.