By Mark Clark
The past week did not go as well as Central coach Mitchell Holt would have liked. His Lady Red Devils fell to 13-7 after winning just three of its seven games. Now, the team has an opportunity to rest and work on its shortcomings as the pace of the season slows.
Central was scheduled to play its second area game on Tuesday against Smiths Station High. Today, the team is at home for a meeting with Enterprise High. Next Tuesday, the squad will be on the road to play Prattville Christian Academy.
“We had a great week, the week before, and I feel it led to a little too much confidence and a lack of attention to detail. Our pitchers all gave us a chance to win. We have to get back to our approach at the plate and play better defense, if we want to compete at the level we expect to play,” Holt said.
“We played a very good game at Auburn with two very good teams going after each other. Both teams made early mistakes and both teams capitalized on them. It came down to execution. You have to tip your hat to them. They got the hit they needed. Their batter got just enough of the ball to drop it into short left field to allow them to score the winning run.”
Central began last week with a 5-4 loss to Auburn High in its first area contest of the season. The Lady Tigers used a walk-off single in the seventh inning to win the game.
Gracie Deaton took the pitching loss for Central. The senior threw all six innings for Central and got one out in the seventh before the winning run scored. She struck out six in the loss.
At the plate, Kristen White and Shelby Newsome were both 2-for-4. Tatyana Harris was 1-for-3. Newsome had a triple for the Lady Red Devils.
After the disappointing loss to Auburn, the Lady Red Devils took a 12-3 beating on the road at the hands of Handley High. Breanna Leininger was the losing pitcher. Jaleigh Hardin’s hitting was the only highlight of the day as she went 3-for-3, accounting for three of Central’s six hits. Hardin had a double among her three hits.
“We did not hit well and our defense let us down at Handley. Like I said, we have to play good defense to compete,” Holt said.
Central finally got back on the winning track – though only briefly – with a 4-1 win over Enterprise High in the Wetumpka Tournament last Friday evening. Deaton tossed a four-hitter to get the pitching victory for the Lady Red Devils.
Central scored its winning runs in the first inning. White singled, stole second and scored on a single by Madison Hurt. Hurt went all the way to third on her hit and the throws to get White at the plate. She scored on a ground out by Newsome.
White was 2-for-2 at the plate and Deaton was 1-for-1. Hurt went 1-for-2.
“We had a good win over Enterprise to start the Wetumpka Tournament. We were able to limit our defensive mistakes and hit the ball when we needed,” Holt said.
After the win, the Lady Red Devils lost to Alabama Christian Academy 4-2 in a three-inning contest cut short by a 70-minute time limit for games. Desalynn Nesbitt was the losing pitcher for Central as she gave up all four of ACA’s runs in the first inning. Central scored twice in the bottom of the first but, could get no closer as the time limit expired.
“The first inning was our downfall. We made a few mistakes that will not show up in the box score that led to runs for them. We tried to battle back, but time got to us,” Holt said.
The Lady Red Devils then put together back-to-back victories by berating Reeltown and Eufaula by identical 3-2 scores. Against Reeltown, Deaton picked up the pitching victory in relief of starter Briana Murray. Murray went four innings, allowed two hits and struck out four.
At the plate, White and Newsome were both 2-for-3. Newsome had two doubles. Kaleigh McHargue, Nayelica Diaz and Harris were each 1-for-2. Hurt was 1-for-3 with two RBI.
Central clinched the victory in the fifth inning when Newsome doubled, went to third on a sacrifice bunt from Hardin and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Deaton.
Against Eufaula, Deaton threw a three-hitter, struck out four and allowed one earned run.
Hardin was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI while White was 1-for-3.
Hardin got her first RBI in the first inning when she singled home Hurt. She got her second RBI in the third with a double to score Newsome.
The winning run came in the fourth inning. With one out, Diaz was hit by a pitch. Makenzie Dobbs was sent in to pinch run and stole second base. She scored the winning run when Nisbett reached base on an error.
“We made mistakes against Reeltown that made it a close game. Against Eufaula, we had some girls step in to help pull us out with a win. We always talk about the importance of every player. In the Eufaula game, we had a pinch hitter and a pinch runner that made the difference,” Holt said.
In their final game of the Wetumpka Tournament, Central suffered a 2-o loss to Enterprise. Deaton was the losing pitcher, allowing one earned run and striking out five.
Hurt had Central’s only hit, a single in the first inning. She was 1-for-2 at the plate.
“Their pitcher threw a great game and they played clean defense. We got one hit and they did not make any errors to help us. As for us, we gave them too many extra chances and they took advantage of them,” Holt said.