Centennial tops Burleson, 5-2, in Game 1
ARLINGTON – For the third time this season, Centennial freshman pitcher Hayley Murrell found a way to slow Burleson’s bat.
Murrell picked up the complete game win over the Lady Elks, 5-2, in Game 1 of the team’s best-of-three Class 5A Region I quarterfinal series Wednesday at the Workman Softball Complex.
Things weren’t as easy for the Murrell this time around as the Lady Elks collected seven hits, two walks and scored two runs. Murrell struck out eight in the win. Several of the strikeouts came with runners in scoring position.
“Murrell did a great job in the circle but she had a few things she needs to clean up,” Centennial coach Sullivan said. “Burleson brought their best game tonight.”
It was Murrell’s third win over the Lady Elks in the circle.
“Honestly, it is all about mechanics,” Murrell said. “If I can keep my mechanics working that’s what is going to keep me from giving up too many hits.”
Centennial (28-3), the No. 6 ranked team in Class 5A in the most recent Class 5A Texas Girls Association poll, needs one win in the next two games to reach the regional semifinals for the first time. Game 2 is slated for 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Workman. Game 3, if needed, will be played at 7:30 p.m.
Kallyn Ciesynski got the Lady Spartans started in the third inning with a leadoff double. After Sydney Friend reached on a single, Gracie Morton drilled a one-out triple to left for a 2-0 lead. Bailey White then singled home Morton for 3-0 advantage.
Burleson’s Zoe Miranda opened the fourth with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Lauren Isbell. Kayleigh Rich brought home Miranda with a single. After Sarah Alexender singled putting runners at first and third, Murrell got the Lady Spartans out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts.
Centennial added a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth when Reagan Ellison scored on a throwing error and pinch runner Karter Hill on Haley Kimberling’s ground out for a 5-1 lead.
“We had a couple of miscues that they took advantage of and we have to clean that up before the next game,” Sullivan said. “Our bats were here but we missed a few executions with our short game but we have to put it all together so we can take care of business Friday.”
In the sixth, Burleson (16-13) loaded the bases with one out on a double by Emily Wilson, a hit batter and a Miranda walk. After a fielder’s choice forced Wilson at home, a wild pitch allowed Natali Wheeler to score from third. With runners at second and third, Murrell got Rich to fly out to right to end the threat.
“Burleson came out and played hard,” Centennial senior Eva Scott. “They were playing balls to the walls.”
Burleson tried to rally in the seventh when pinch-hitter Taylor Sutton singled with one out. Miranda doubled with two out putting runners at second and third but Isbell grounded out to end the game.
“We left some runners on which is never fun to see,” Burleson coach Summer Owen said. “But all in all, I’m proud of my team. By far the best game I’ve ever seen my girls play against Centennial. It was a great game all around.”