By Mark Clark
One moment it appeared the Central High Lady Red Devils would win in a rout. In the next moment, they had to hold on to win. Central defeated Smiths Station High in their second Area 4 game of the season last week to claim second place in the regular season standings, but will have to face the Lady Panthers one more time to have a shot at sharing at least a piece of the area title for the seventh consecutive season.
Auburn High swept Central in the two games the area rivals played this season and beat Smiths Station as well to claim the regular season title. Now, Central must beat Smiths Station in the Area 4 tournament to have a chance to get back to the playoffs.
Central defeated Smiths Station 14-10 last week after running out to a 9-4 lead. The score was 9-7 as the two squads entered the seventh inning. Central scored five runs in the top of the seventh to take a 14-7 lead, but had to hold tight to that lead as the Lady Panthers scored three times to cut the margin to 14-10 before their third out ended the game.
In the top of the seventh inning, Tatyana Harris walked and then came home on a home run by Kristen White. Madison Hurt and Shelby Newsome both had singles and scored when Jaleigh Hardin hit a home run to make the score 14-7.
White led Central at the plate with a 3-for-4 performance. She had a double, a triple and a home run with four RBI. Summer Lawrence was 1-for-1. Gracie Deaton was 1-for-1 as well. Hardin was 1-for-3 with her home run and three RBI. Briana Murray and Hurt were both 1-for-3. Nayelica Diaz, Kyleigh McHargue and Newsome were each 1-for-4 in the win.
Murray was the winning pitcher for Central and Deaton earned a save. Murray went 5.1 innings and allowed six hits. Deaton went the final 1.2 innings and allowed five hits.
Central gave up a run in the top of the first inning against Stanhope Elmore High, but then scored four runs in the bottom of the frame to secure the victory in a 10-3 win over the Lady Mustangs.
In the bottom of the first inning, with one out, Hurt singled. Hurt stole second and went to third on a passed ball. Newsome walked and took second base on the play. Hurt scored on the throw to second. Hardin followed with a walk. With two outs, Deaton doubled to drive in both runners to make the score 3-1. Deaton scored on a single by Murray.
Central used an error, a walk, two singles and a Diaz home run to score five runs in the third inning. They added one more run in the sixth inning.
Murray was 1-for-1 at the plate for Central. White was 2-for-4. Harris and Deaton were each 1-for-2. Deaton had a double with two RBI. Diaz was 1-fpr-3 with her home run and four RBI. McHargue was 1-for-3 and Hurt was 1-for-4.
Deaton went the distance inside the circle, allowing three hits and striking out seven.
Central was slated to play at Beauregard High this past Tuesday after Citizen Press time. They are on the road today at Prattville High and will be at home next Tuesday to play Northview High of Dothan. Next Thursday the team finishes the regular season on the road at Eufaula High. The Area 4 Tournament begins May 1 in Auburn.