Inconsistent defense sends Warrior softball team to 1-5 week

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Chelsia Larson covers first base during the doubleheader against Turkey Valley. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Kaitlyn Wiley readies for a pitch against the Trojans.

Delaney Scherf takes a big cut against the Trojans.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Central softball team faced another packed week of action, playing six games in three days, but the early season struggles did not abate, as the Warriors went 1-5 and now sit at 2-10 on the year. 


The week started with a June 7 doubleheader against Turkey Valley. In game one, the Warriors faced an early 4-0 deficit they couldn’t overcome and lost the game 11-1. It wasn’t for lack of effort from the offense, which put up seven hits (all singles), but the team also struck out 11 times. 


Leading the offense was Brandy Beatty, who went 3-3 and was responsible for the only RBI. She also stole two bases. Chelsia Larson went 2-3 with two singles and Abby Cummer went 1-2 with a single and a walk. 


Larson took the mound for all six innings, throwing 100 pitches across 36 batters, allowing 15 hits, 11 runs—nine of which were earned—and four walks. The Warrior defense was solid, with just two errors. 


“Turkey Valley is a good team that was ranked last week at the time. We had a few too many mistakes defensively, which led to extra runs for Turkey Valley. They hit the ball hard from the start. We struggled offensively, as Weber kept us off balance,” said head coach Mark Wiley.


The second game was a high scoring affair and a more competitive matchup, but the Warriors’ seventh inning rally fell one run short, as they lost 10-9. 


Central started with a 2-0 lead, before the Trojans tied the score in the second. The Warriors retook the lead in the third inning, 4-2, but the relentless Turkey Valley offense slowly chipped away before a massive seventh inning. 


The Warrior offense produced 14 hits, including 12 singles and two doubles, while only striking out five times. Madison Sylvester went 3-3 with two RBIs, while Maddy Wille went 2-4 and scored two runs and Ashlyn Scherf was 2-4 with two RBIs. Katelyn Wiley had a hit, two runs scored and two RBIs. The offense also went 4-4 in stolen bases. 


Defensively, the team committed just one error, but allowed three stolen bases while throwing one runner out. 


Katelyn Scherf pitched all seven innings, giving up 13 hits and 10 runs, eight of which were earned. She also had two walks and one strikeout. 


“We were much more aggressive offensively with confidence in the batter’s box. It was good to see our ability to battle in the batter’s box in this game. We were down 10-6 going into the bottom of the seventh. We strung five hits together in the seventh inning and had the tying run on second base,” Wiley said.


Next, Central had a doubleheader against North Fayette Valley. In game one, the Warriors fell behind quickly, 6-1, after the first inning and were never able to close the gap, losing 9-3. 


The offense came away with nine hits and was led by Wille, who went 3-4, scored two runs and stole a base. Cummer went 2-4 with an RBI and Ashlyn Scherf went 2-4 with two RBIs. 


The defense struggled, giving up five stolen bases and committing three errors. 


Larson pitched a complete game that included 14 hits, nine runs, seven earned runs, three walks, three hit batters and five strikeouts.


“One inning defensively, we didn’t have it shored up, and it was the difference in the game,” Wiley said. “We gave up six runs, NFV hit the ball well and we didn’t execute as we are capable. Offensively, we left too many base runners in scoring position, which kept us at a distance in the latter innings.” 


In the second game, the Warriors flipped the script, putting up four runs in the first three innings, but the TigerHawks managed to tie the game at 4-4 in the fourth. The Warriors responded in the bottom of the seventh inning with two runs to secure the victory. 


Ashlyn Scherf went 3-4 with three doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored. Beatty went 2-4 with a stolen base and a run scored, while Wille was 2-4, stole two bases and scored twice. Wiley went 1-4 with one RBI.


Defensively, the Warriors committed just one error and had a reliable .967 fielding percentage. The lack of errors and consistency on defense helped pitcher Katelyn Scherf pick up her second win of the season. Scherf threw a 93-pitch complete game, allowing just eight hits and four runs, two of which were earned. She also struck out four batters.


“We had 11 hits in the game and manufactured two runs in the seventh inning on an Ashlyn Scherf double that scored Maddy Wille, and Scherf scored off a ball put in play by Kaitlyn Wiley,” said Wiley. “This is the first win against NFV since 2010 for the Central softball program. It was good to get our first conference win and do it on the road as well.”


The final two games of the week were at the Springville Tournament, where the Warriors first took on the Cascade Cougars. The Warriors jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second inning, but it was short lived as the Cougars responded with a five-run third and 10-run fourth, eventually winning 16-4.  


Wiley led the Central offense, going 1-2 with a triple and three RBIs. Beatty went 2-2 with one RBI and Sylvester singled and scored a one run. 


The defense had a bit of an off game, committing three errors. 


Katelyn Scherf started the game, lasting 3.1 innings and allowing 13 hits and 16 runs, 13 of which were earned. Chelsia Larson made a relief appearance, giving up two hits and two runs. 


“We started the game well on both sides of the ball. We did not make routine plays in the field in the second and fourth inning, which allowed extra outs, and we were not able to get the second and third out of the fourth inning before the run limit,” Wiley said. “The team needs to continue to improve on our defense. We have the capability of shutting down our opponent, and not give a bunch of extra outs in a game or even inning.” 


The second game of the tournament was against North Cedar, and despite a three-run seventh inning rally, the Warriors lost 9-6. 


Game leaders were Delaney Scherf, who went 3-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs, and Cummer, who went 3-4 with an RBI. Ashlyn Scherf singled twice and drove in two runs, while Wille had two singles and scored two runs. 


The Warriors defensive inconsistency continued, as they committed five errors and had just 18 putouts on 31 chances. 


Larson put in a complete game on the mound, surrendering eight hits and six earned runs, along with four strikeouts.


“Again, one inning defensively was the difference in the game. We gave up eight of the nine runs in the third inning. We need to step up and make the next play and put the mistakes behind us,” said Wiley. “Nevertheless, we battled at the plate and had 13 hits. We battled back from an eight-run deficit and had the tying run at the plate in the seventh inning. We left seven runs in scoring position, which loomed large in the game.”


 The Warriors have a five-game schedule this week, starting on June 14 with a double-header versus Kee. Central then has a doubleheader at Postville on June 16, before heading to Springville on June 18.

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