Warriors cap off regular season on four-game winning streak

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Tori Sylvester collected four hits in last week's doubleheader versus Postville. She also scored four times and knocked in three runs in the Central sweep. (Photo by Bev Hamann)

Mackayla Vlazny tosses the ball to Gracie Cummer at first base for an out versus Postville.

Gracie Cummer stretches for a close play at first base. The Warriors lost their postseason opener to Kee, ending the season.

Warrior catcher Fern Diersen throws to second during a steal attempt by the Hawks on July 1.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The season is over for the Central softball team, but not before a four-game winning streak and an offensive explosion that saw the Warriors outscore their competition 57-10. 


It was the longest winning stretch of the season for the Warriors, giving them an 8-8 Upper Iowa Conference record. They finished 8-13 overall. 


However, despite the impressive late season run, the Warriors fell to Kee in the first round of the Class 1A postseason on July 1, bringing the season to an end. 


Central started the week with a double-header sweep of winless Postville Pirates on June 27. In game one, the Warriors scored early and often, only failing to post a run in one of the six innings played as they downed the Pirates 11-1. 


The offense racked up nine hits and drew four walks, while striking out just six times. Tori Sylvester powered the effort with three hits, including a triple, and two RBIs. Mackayla Vlazny got in on the action with two hits, two runs and two RBIs. Reese Berns reached on an error, but drove in two runs in the process. 


In total, six of nine starters got a hit and five finished with at least one RBI. 


In the field, the Warriors’ season-long defensive issues were basically nonexistent, as they committed only two errors, neither of which led to a run. 


On the mound, Chelsia Larson put in a dominant performance, going all six innings and giving up just a single hit and one run. She struck out nine Pirates. 


The second game started more evenly, with the Pirates responding early to the Warriors’ offensive production. However, the Central juggernaut, after putting up six runs in the first inning and three in the second, brought the game to an early end after piling up eight runs in the fourth and sealing an 18-5 victory. 


If the Warriors were efficient in game one, they were even better in game two with 13 hits and just one strikeout. Eight of the nine starters got a hit and seven finished with an RBI. 


Fern Diersen put on another show with two hits, three runs and four RBIs, while Kaitlyn Wiley added three hits, four runs and one RBI. Larson showed she is just as capable at the plate as on the mound, with two hits, two runs and two RBIs. Fellow pitcher Katelyn Scherf put up two hits, including a double, along with two RBIs. Gracie Cummer, Ashlyn Scherf and Oakley Armstrong each had one hit and two RBIs. 


Katelyn Scherf shut down the Pirate offense over three innings, holding them to three hits and giving up four earned runs. Larson made an appearance as well, putting in a scoreless inning of work and striking out two batters. 


Central continued to circle the bases in a June 29 doubleheader against West Central, where the team put up a nine-run opening inning in game one. The Warriors scored four more over the next three innings, bringing the game to an early 13-0 end. 


The offense once again supplied the highlights, with nine hits and six walks. Wiley came up with two of those hits and two runs, while Diersen finished with a hit and three RBIs and Berns collected two hits and two runs. Cummer also hit a two-RBI double, and Ashlyn Scherf, Larson and Vlazny each had an RBI. 


Larson put in another one-hit pitching performance, while striking out six Blue Devils. 


In game two, the Warriors faced some early pressure, actually falling behind 1-0 heading into the second inning. The game was tied 3-3 entering the third, but that’s when the Warrior bats woke up, scoring 12 runs over the next four innings, and eventually winning 15-4. 


Central finished with a whopping 17 hits, including four doubles, and limited strikeouts to three. 


Six of the nine starters finished with multiple hits, including Diersen, who had three hits and four RBIs. Katelyn Scherf also put up three hits and three RBIs, while Wiley added two hits, two runs and three RBIs and Cummer earned one hit, two runs and an RBI. Tori Sylvester picked up two hits, two runs and an RBI.


Larson pitched all six innings, giving up just four hits, two walks and three earned runs. She struck out four batters. Larson was aided by a defense that committed just two errors. 


The Warriors headed into the first round of the playoffs riding a high-octane offense but ran into an offensive buzz saw in Kee, who entered the game second in the Upper Iowa Conference standings. 


Larson withstood the Hawk bats early, limiting the damage to three runs in the first two innings. That gave the offense a chance to respond, and it did by putting up three runs in the top of the third inning to draw even. Kee took back the lead, 4-3, in the bottom of the third, however, then went on to score four more runs while shutting down the Warrior bats in an 8-3 victory. 


Central was limited to four hits in the game, but one was a season highlight homerun by Ashlyn Scherf. Diersen added two hits, including a double, and an RBI. 


The defense played well, committing only two errors, but the Hawks capitalized on them, scoring two unearned runs. 


Larson pitched a complete game, giving up nine hits, one walk and six earned runs, while striking out six.

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