Independence — For the longest stretch, this Tuesday afternoon game on a beautiful Oregon afternoon was a pitcher’s duel: Nelson’s Noel Julison and Central’s Lily McCormick were shutting down their respective opponent’s offense, having seemingly no issues in the circle. However, the bats would come alive and runs were on the board, with the Panthers finding their groove to bring home a win over the 6A newcomer Nelson Hawks.
In the first three and a half innings, Nelson and Central remained scoreless, picking up hits but no runs to show for them. In the bottom of the fourth, Emily Newbeck singled to start the half-inning, moving over to the third on a ground out. Kaitlyn Brian doubled home Newbeck, striking the scoreboard with a 1-0 Central lead, and Kendall Seidel brought home another run in the next at-bat, making it 2-0 Panthers in the bottom of the fourth. With runners on the corners, Hadley Craig drove in another run and extended the lead to 3-0 after four innings against Nelson. McCormick would continue her dominance in the circle, setting down the Hawks 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth inning, maintaining a 3-0 advantage.
The offense would keep going for Central in the bottom of the fifth, sparking once again with a huge two out rally. Peyton Foreman got it moving, driving home Brielle Lowry on an RBI single to make it 4-0 Central. With two more on base later in the inning, Seidel hit a two RBI single to blow open a 6-0 Panthers lead and keep the inning alive. Devon Hedges brought home Seidel to close out a four-run fifth inning rally, handing Central a 7-0 lead after five innings of play. The Hawks would muster some offense in the sixth inning, bringing home runs via bases loaded walk and a sacrifice fly from Olivia Nelson, cutting the deficit to 7-2 Central entering the bottom of the sixth inning.
In one last blast for Central, Lowry singled to open the sixth inning. Two batters later, the senior Peyton Foreman drilled a two-run bomb to center field, extending the Panthers lead to 9-2 over Nelson. McCormick extended the lead late in the inning with an RBI single, making it 10-2 Central over Nelson, a score that would stand to the end of the game as the Panthers defeated the Hawks at home on Tuesday. Lily McCormick picked up the win in the circle for Central, allowing six hits and striking out eight. McCormick was also 4-4 from the plate with an RBI. Peyton Foreman was 2-4 with a HR and 3 RBI for Central.
Central (4-2) visit Hillsboro on April 4th, Nelson (4-2) host Corvallis on Friday