The Central High School softball team played host to the Heard County High School in each club’s respective season opener on Tuesday.
While the Lady Braves pulled out the 3-1 win, Central gave a hard-fought effort in what will mark their first home loss of the 2019 season.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed with the outcome, but overall I thought we played pretty decent,” Central’s head Coach Dave McKenna expressed about falling short. “You always know what you’re going to get when you play Heard. That’s why we play teams like that, to get us better, and there’s no doubt that game got us better for the future.”
Neither team produced any runs during the first two innings, but it was Central who struck first in the third frame on an RBI single.
Trailing 1-0, Heard County quickly answered in the fourth inning with a home run by sophomore Mackenzie White giving the Lady Braves their first run of the evening.
The fifth inning stayed quiet for both teams, but the long ball played a big role once more in the sixth when sophomore Janiyah Strong belted a solo shot to put the Lady Braves in the lead.
Heard County head coach Matt Hornsby reflected on the two home runs the Lady Braves collected.
“I thought their pitcher (Central’s) did a really, really good job of hitting her spots and mixing speeds, and didn’t make very many mistakes all night, but, luckily, the two that she did make we did barrel up there and were able to hit a couple long balls there,” he said.
Unanswered by the Lady Lions, the seventh inning started with a 2-1 lead by the Lady Braves.
A mishandle at first base and later behind the plate led to an addition Lady Brave run.
Central — despite having a shot late in the game — failed to capitalize offensively in the later innings, but McKenna was pleased with the pitching job his freshman did in the circle.
“We’ve got to do a better job of capatilizing when we’ve got runners on base and get that timely hit, and we just didn’t do that today,” coach McKenna replied. “So, that’s what we’re going to work on tomorrow in practice.”
Hornsby — even after the win — was hoping for a better swinging presentation from his players.
“We thought we’d be swinging it better by now, but, one thing that we’ve been preaching in practice is, until we do start swinging it well we’ve got to play really good defense and be really good in the circle,” Hornsby stated. “And, I thought that Katelyn did an excellent job in the circle against a pretty good line up with Central there and hit her spots all game, throwing hard for the most part.”
Central will face Lagrange in another home game Aug. 8 at 5 p.m.
For the Lady Braves, their next game will be a home opener today against Villa Rica starting at 5:55 p.m.
Senior Katelyn Jiles pitched for three strikeouts in tonight’s competition.
“She’s definitely stepping forward and taking a huge leadership role in the circle for us, and that’s something that we knew was going to have to happen,” coach Confirmed about her senior leadership. “And it’s good to see that she’s doing that.”