By Mark Clark
Central High’s Lady Red Devils stayed one game ahead of .500 this past week to improve their season record to 22-12 overall and 1-1 in area play. Their hopes of winning a seventh consecutive area title is on the line over the next two weeks.
Central was slated to face Auburn High this past Tuesday at home. Auburn defeated Central 5-4 with a walk-off hit a couple of weeks back to give the Lady Red Devils their only area loss this season. They defeated Smiths Station a week later to even its record and will need to defeat Smiths Station again in order to have a chance at the area title during the regular season. No matter what happens over the next two weeks, Central can gain their title for a seventh time with a championship victory in the postseason area tournament.
Central got off on the wrong foot last week with a 5-3 loss to Prattville Christian. Gracie Deaton took the loss inside the circle for Central. She went four innings and allowed five hits. Briana Murray went the final two innings and allowed a hit and a run.
At the plate, Shelby Newsome was 2-for-2. Kristen White was 2-for-4 with a triple. Kyleigh McHargue and Murray were both 1-for-2. Deaton was 1-for-3 with two RBI.
Central got back on the winning track with an 11-10 victory over Wetumpka. Central led by five runs, but had to hold on to win 11-10. Murray got the pitching victory for the Lady Red Devils. She gave up three hits and three earned runs with four strikeouts. Deaton came in to relieve her and gave up four hits, three runs and struck out three.
McHargue was 3-for-3 with a double, a home run and one RBI. Tatyana Harris was 2-for-3. White was 2-for-3 with three RBI. Nayelica Diaz was 1-for-2 with a home run and one RBI. Murray was 1-for-3 with a double and one RBI. Newsome was 1-for-4 with a homerun and one RBI. Madison Hurt was 1-for-4 with one RBI.
The run that proved to be the winner for Central came in the fifth inning on a solo home run blast by McHargue.
In a weekend tournament, Central went 3-2, beating Brookwood, Sipsey Valley and Fayetteville. They lost to Winfield and Northview.
In the first game of the tournament, Central beat Brookwood 4-2. Central scored twice in the second inning and twice more in the fifth. In the second inning, Jaleigh Hardin walked and McHargue singled. Both runners scored on a single by Hurt.
In the fifth inning, with one out, White singled and Hurt was walked. Both scored on a double by Newsome.
Deaton got the pitching victory. She gave up five hits, two runs, no earned runs and struck out three. At the plate, White was 3-for-3. Murray was 1-for-1 with two RBI. McHargue was 1-for-2. Newsome was 1-for-3 with a double and two RBU.
Against Sipsey Valley, Central won 9-4. Desalynn Nesbitt was the winning pitcher for Central. She gave up three hits, four runs and had four strikeouts. At the plate, Hurt was 3-for-3 with three runs scored. White and Diaz were both 2-for-3. White scored twice and had one RBI. Diaz had three RBI. McHargue was 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI.
Central got its winning runs in the second inning. Deaton reached base on an error. She stole second and went to third on an error. White singled to score Deaton. Hurt singled and Newsome followed with another single that scored White. Hurt scored on an error on the play.
Winfield defeated Central 8-3. Murray took the pitching loss. At the plate, Diaz and Deaton were both 1-for-1. Deaton had a home run with one RBI. White and Hurt were both 2-for-3. Hurt had one RBI. Newsome and Murray were both 1-for-3.
Central rebounded with a 12-2 defeat of Fayetteville following its loss to Winfield. Murray got the pitching win. She went four innings, allowed one hit, two runs of which neither were earned and she struck out four. White was 3-for-3 to lead Central’s hitters. Newsome and Hardin were both 2-for-2. Newsome had three RBI. Hardin had a home run and two RBI. Hurt was 1-for-1 and scored three runs. Murray was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Diaz was 1-for-2 with one RBI. McHargue was 1-for-3 with two RBI.
Central scored five runs in the first inning to secure the win. White singled and stole second and third bases. Hurt singled. Newsome singled to score White. Hardin single scored Hurt. McHargue reached on a fielder’s choice. Newsome was out on the play. Deaton was hit by a pitch. Murray doubled to clear the bases.
Central was eliminated from the tournament with a 6-3 loss to Northview. Murray took the pitching loss as she gave up two hits and three runs. Deaton, Nesbitt and Breanna Leininger also saw relief action inside the circle. The three teamed up to allow two hits and three runs.
The leading hitter for Central in the loss was McHargue, who went 1-fpr-1. White, Hurt and Murray all went 1-for-2. Hurt had one RBI. Murray had a home run and two RBI.
Central scored a runs in the first inning when White singled, stole second, took third on a passed ball and scored when Hurt singled.
Their final runs came in the fourth inning. McHargue had a one-out single. With two outs, Murray had a two-run home run.
Central was slated to play Auburn this past Tuesday night. Today, the team is on the road at Alabama Christian Academy. Next Tuesday, the Lady Red Devils finish up area play at Smiths Station High. The Lady Red Devils will then have five regular season games remaining before the area tournament – Stanhope Elmore, at Beauregard, at Prattville, Northview and at Eufaula.