Softball: Central ready to play host to area tournament

By Mark Clark

Central High closed out its regular season area schedule last week with a 15-1 victory over Auburn High, giving the Lady Red Devils a perfect 4-0 record in the area. That means Central will be the host team for the area tournament next week – May 3-4. The Lady Red Devils are the area regular season champions for the sixth consecutive year.

“The area tournament is next week and we know it will be very tough. It always is. We will play the winner of the Auburn and Smiths Station game. We have to win one game before we lose two to get to the regional.” Central coach Mitchell Holt said. “We know Auburn and Smiths Station will come in playing their best ball of the season. We know every team in the area can beat the others on any given day.”

Central has a bye in the first round of the area tournament while Smiths Station will have to play Auburn. The top two teams from the area tournament will advance to the Central Regional tournament in Troy.

Central entered this week with a 28-15 record. The team was scheduled to play Prattville Christian this past Tuesday at home and Northview on the road on Wednesday after Citizen Press time. Central will be on the road Friday to play No. 1 ranked Sparkman High in Cullman.

We had a pretty good week. We went 6-3 and ended up in the Final 4 at the Hoover Classic before weather got us. We did not play our best games on Friday night and in our first game on Saturday. We started playing better after we had a team meeting and I told the girls they still had a chance to do well if they just executed like they were supposed to execute. We told them their energy has to come from each other. When they feed off each other, they are really fun to be a part of,” Holt said. “In our game with Auburn, we were able to execute and put pressure on them. We got out to an early lead and never looked back. In our Handley game, we came out hitting on all cylinders and scored the game’s first ten runs. But, Handley is a good team and always fights back. Our defense wasn’t playing well, but sometimes you just have to have your offense step up to win one for you.”

The Lady Red Devils rolled over Auburn for a 15-1 victory in their final area game of the regular season. The team got enough runs to win the contest in the first inning. 

Kristen White singled to start the first inning for Central. She stole second base. With one out, Shelby Newsome singled to move White to third. White scored when Sara Castillo reached base on a fielder’s choice. Newsome moved to third. Allison Shiver followed with a walk to load the bases. All three runners scored when Kyleigh McHargue reached on an error. Central led 4-0.

The Lady Red Devils added single runs in the second and third innings, two runs in the fourth and seven runs in the sixth inning.

Gracie Deaton was the winning pitcher for the Lady Red Devils. She allowed two hits over six innings and struck out two. Tatyana Harris and Newsome were both 2-for-3 at the plate for Central. Newsome had two RBI. Allie Farrow was 3-for-5 with one RBI. Deaton was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. White was 2-for-5.

Central followed the win over Auburn with another one over Handley High, 14-12. Alexa Shiver was the winning pitcher. Deaton earned the save pitching the final inning. Deaton was 3-for-3 and McHargue was 2-for-2 with three RBI. White was 4-for-5 with one RBI. Jaleigh Hardin and Newsome were both 3-for-4. Hardin had four RBI. Allison Shiver had a home run.

Central scored four runs in the first inning and never trailed. Farrow walked and Newsome singled before Allison Shiver hit her home run to give the Lady Red Devils a 3-0 lead. Castillo singled and moved to third on a single by Deaton. She scored on a single by Hardin.

Central went ahead 10-0 in the second inning before Handley scored six runs in the top of the third inning. They added four more in the third and then had to hang on to win 14-12.

In their third game of the week, Central was beaten 11-1 by Hoover High. Allison Shiver and Harris were 1-for-2 at the plate. Newsome, Castillo, McHargue and Alexa Shiver were each 1-for-3. Deaton took the pitching loss.

Central then played in the Hoover Tournament last weekend and went 3-2 before rains came and ended the tournament. Central beat Mortimer Jordan High 4-3, lost to Dickson County, Tennessee, High 3-2, lost to Gulf Shores High 5-0, beat Rehobeth High 6-2 and beat Enterprise High 14-2. The Lady Red Devils trailed Chelsea High 1-0 in the top of the first inning when the weather caused the tournament to be cancelled.

Deaton was the winning pitcher against Mortimer Jordan. He gave up four hits and struck out four. White led Central with a 3-for-3 performance at the plate. Alexa Shiver and McHargue were both 2-for-2 and Harris was 1-for-1. Alexa Shiver and McHargue both had doubles.

Alexa Shiver took the pitching loss against Dickson County. Newsome was 2-for-3 at the plate while Deaton, Hardin and Alex Shiver were each 1-for-2.

Deaton was the losing pitcher to Gulf Shores. She gave up two hits and five earned runs. Farrow and Newsome were each 1-for-2.

Deaton tossed a four-hitter in Central’s victory over Rehobeth. Allison Shiver was 1-for-1 with a double. White, Newsome and Hardin were each 1-for-2. Hardin had two RBI.

Deaton threw a two-hitter to lead Central past Enterprise. Newsome was 3-for-3 with a double. Farrow was 2-for-2 with one RBI. Deaton was 1-for-1 with one RBI. McHargue was 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI. White and Hardin were both 1-for-2. White had two RBI. Alexa Shiver 1-for-3 with a double.

In their final game of the week, played at Auburn University’s softball field against Wetumpka High, Central won 7-3. Deaton was the winning pitcher. She allowed three hits and struck out nine. Allison Shiver was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI. Hardin and Harris were both 1-for-1. Hardin had two RBI. Hardin had a two-RBI double in the second inning that gave Central the lead it would not give up over the balance of the contest.