Defensive miscues hurt Central softball

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Gracie Cummer slides safely into second base during game one of a doubleheader against MFL MarMac on June 20. The Warriors lost the first game but won the second. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Shortstop Tori Sylvester swings for the fences in the game two victory over the Bulldogs. Sylvester had two hits, one RBI and three runs scored during the doubleheader.

Fern Diersen heads toward second base in game one against the Bulldogs. Diersen had two hits and three RBIs in the game.

Kaitlyn Wiley picked up two hits and scored twice in the June 20 doubleheader at MFL MarMac.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


As the season winds down, the Central softball team sits at 4-12 overall and 4-8 in the Upper Iowa Conference, after going 1-3 last week. 


The Warriors started with a June 20 doubleheader at MFL MarMac. The first game was a hard fought, back-and-forth battle, in which the Warriors struck first with two runs in the first inning before giving up four to the Bulldogs over the course of the first and second innings. 


Central cut into the lead with a run in the top of the third before going off for three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 6-4 lead. But the Bulldogs rallied in the bottom of the sixth for two runs, making it 6-6. The Warriors had a chance in the seventh, when they scored a run, but were unable to hold the slim lead, as MFL MarMac forced extra innings. In the eighth and deciding inning, the Warriors went scoreless, while the Bulldogs were able to pick up the walk-off run to seal the 8-7 win. 


The Warriors performed well despite the loss, finishing with eight hits, including two doubles and one triple, but struck out 11 times. 


Leading the offense was Fern Diersen, who had two hits, including a triple, three RBIs and one run. Tori Sylvester and Ashlyn Scherf also had two hits apiece and combined for three runs and two RBIs. Kaitlyn Wiley and Chelsia Larson collected one hit each and Wiley scored a run. 


The defense, which has been plagued by errors this season, committed seven that game, leading to four unearned runs for the Bulldogs. 


On the mound, Chelsia Larson went a solid 6.2 innings, striking out five Bulldogs and giving up just two earned runs. Katelyn Scherf put in a relief appearance, pitching one inning in which she hit three batters, struck out one and allowed two earned runs. 


Game two was a different story, however, as the Warriors pounced early. They put up four runs in the top of the first inning before adding another in the third, and easily fended off the Bulldogs for a 5-1 victory. 


The offensive star was Mackayla Vlazny, who had two hits,a run scored and three RBIs. Diersen had one hit along with two runs and an RBI, while Wiley, Ashlyn Scherf and Oakley Armstrong finished one hit apiece. 


Central’s defense was also much improved, committing just one error and not allowing the Bulldogs the second chance opportunities they took advantage of in game one. 


Larson was back on the mound for 4.2 innings, and again limited the Bulldog offense to two hits while striking out 10. Katelyn Scherf pitched a hitless 2.1 innings. 


The next two games, a doubleheader versus conference co-leader Kee, were tough losses for the Warriors, who were outscored 26-5.


Game one actually started well for the Warriors, who took a 1-0 lead, but the Hawks scored eight runs in the next four innings and Central’s attempts at a rally faltered, ending in an 8-4 loss. 


The Warrior offense minimized strikeouts with five, but mustered a sporadic six hits and was unable to string together a series of them. Tori Sylvester was 2-3 at the plate, with a single and a double, one run, one RBI and a sacrifice fly. Ashlyn Scherf added one hit, one run and one RBI, and Brandi Herman put up one hit, one run, and an RBI as well. 


The defense limited errors, with just three, but those were crucial in the game, as the Hawks scored three unearned runs in the process. 


Larson pitched a complete seven-inning game, giving up nine hits, two walks and five earned runs, while striking out seven. 


The second game against the Hawks ended after four innings, as the Kee offense found its rhythm and scored 18 runs. Central couldn’t match the firepower and lost 18-1. 


The Warriors produced two hits, one from Ashlyn Scherf and another by Vlazny, who also had the lone RBI. 


Central’s defense played well, giving up just one error, but the pitching staff never found its footing. Larson took the mound for two innings and allowed five hits and five earned runs, with four strikeouts. Katelyn Scherf also put in two innings, giving up nine hits, two walks and 11 earned runs. 


The Warriors have a loaded final week of the season, with a doubleheader on June 27 against Postville, followed by another two-gamer at West Central on June 29. Central will then play at Kee on July 1, in the Class 1A - Region 7 first round of the playoffs. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. 

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