By Mark Clark
Sun, sand and softball were the order of the week as the Central High Lady Red Devils traveled to the Gulf Coast to play in the annual Orange Beach/Gulf Shores softball tournament. The team returned from the coastal waters of Alabama with one more win than they did losses – going 3-2 for the tournament.
With the five games added to their overall record, Central entered this week with an 18-9 record. The Lady Red Devils were slated to begin this week on the road at Prattville Christian. They will be at home today to face Wetumpka High. Next Tuesday, the team will face Auburn High in an area contest. Central is 1-1 in the area with a win over Smiths Station and a loss to Auburn. Central will need a win over each of the two schools as they finish up their regular season area slate to continue its string of titles which stands at six. Either that or win the title in the postseason tournament.
Central opened and closed the spring tournament at the coast against Athens High, winning 5-4 in the first game and losing 7-5 in the last game. In between the two games, Central lost to De Queen High 6-2 and took wins over East Lawrence High 7-3 and Marion High 6-4.
In the tournament opener, Central scored five runs over the first two innings and then had to hang on to win the game 5-4, Shelby Newsome had a solo home run in the first inning to give the Lady Red Devils a 1-0 lead.
In the second inning, with one out, Gracie Deaton had a solo home run to up Central’s lead to 2-0. With two outs, Briana Murray doubled and scored on a single by Tatyana Harris. Harris scored when Kristen White singled. After Madison Hurt walked, Newsome doubled to drive in White to give Central a 5-0 lead.
Athens scored four runs in the third inning to make the score 5-4.
Deaton was the winning pitcher. She gave up four hits and three earned runs over four innings.
Newsome was 2-for-2 with a home run and a double with two RBI. Deaton was 1-for-1 with her home run. Harris was 1-for-1 as well. White and Murray were each 1-for-2.
Central led De Queen High 2-1 before a five-run third inning. Murray was the losing pitcher for Central. Jaleigh Hardin was 2-for-2 with one RBI. Kyleigh McHargue and Newsome were both 1-for-2. McHargue had a double. Harris was 1-for-1.
The Lady Red Devils got back to winning against East Limestone. Central trailed 3-0 until the third inning when they scored six runs.
In the third inning, with one out, Harris singled. White followed with a single. Hurt singled to drive home Harris. Newsome singled to drive in White. Hardin reached base on a fielder’s choice. McHargue then singled to score Hurt. Deaton then had a three-run home run.
White and McHargue were both 2-for-2 at the plate to lead the Lady Red Devils. Orianna Walters was 1-for-1 with a double. Deaton and Harris were each 1-for-3. Deaton had a home run and three RBI. Central was down 2-0, 2-1, 4-1, 4-2 and 4-3 before scoring three runs in the fourth inning to secure the victory over Marion High. Murray was the winning pitcher for Central in relief of Breanna Leininger. Murray went two innings and gave up one hit and no runs. Murray was 2-for-2 at the plate with a home run and two RBI. Harris was 2-for-2 and Deaton was 1-for-1. Hardin was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI.
In the fourth inning, trailing 4-3, Hurt singled and scored on a one-out single by Hardin to tie the game. With two outs, Deaton and Murray walked to load the bases. Summer Lawrence reached on an error that scored Hardin and Deaton for the winning runs.
Central closed out its run in the tournament with its 7-5 loss to Athens High. Deaton was the losing pitcher for Central. She gave up five hits and seven runs. None of the runs were earned.
Hurt was 2-for-2 at the plate to lead Central. White was 2-for-3. Deaton, McHargue and Hardin were each 1-for-2. All three had one RBI. Newsome was 1-for-3 with one RBI.