Lady Spartans fall to Canyon, 9-8, in series opener
Centennial’s softball team saw its 26-game winning streak ended Friday night as Canyon handed the Lady Spartans their first lost since Feb. 26, 9-6, in Game 1 of the team’s Class 5A Region I best-of-three semifinal series.
The Lady Eagles rallied twice to win the game. Trailing 2-0 in the fourth, Canyon sent 10 batters to the plate to erase Centennial’s lead by scoring six runs.
“You can’t defend walks,” Sullivan said. “We also can’t make those kind of mistakes. We are a better team than we showed tonight.”
The Lady Spartans seemed to get unnerved at times by Canyon’s raucous crowd and their milk jug noisemakers. Sullivan said she had tried to prepare her team for the noise but it was hard to explain how loud it might get.
“These young ones had no idea how loud it was going to be and actually, I didn’t realize how loud it was going to be,” Sullivan said. “It made it difficult to communicate. But we have to do a better job of taking care what we are doing on the field.”
After Canyon loaded the bases with none out, the Lady Eagles scored runs on a sacrifice fly, a catcher’s error on a throw back to the pitcher following a pitch, a single, a wild pitch and finally Hedger’s two-run double.
Centennial battled back in the fourth inning as the Lady Spartans loaded the bases with one out when Ciesynski reached on an error, Friend reached an infield single and Morton walked. White followed with a grand slam home run over the left field wall to tie the game at 6-6.
Before White’s home run, Sullivan looked into her from the third base box and said “do your job.”
Which she did.
The Lady Spartans got out of a huge jam in the fifth to keep the game tied. With none out and the bases loaded, pitcher Hayley Murrell reentered the game and induced back-to-back grounders that resulted in force outs at the plate and got a pop fly to right to end the inning.
“It was fun to watch,” Sullivan said. “It’s funny that we practiced the heck out of bases-loaded situations in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. I love to see it come together in an actual game situation.”
Centennial wasn’t as lucky in the sixth inning as Canyon put runners at first and second on a walk and a hit batter. With one out, Sarah Bell hit a three-run home run over the center field wall for a 9-6 lead.
The Lady Spartans had one last gasp with two out in the seventh. After White drew a walk, Scott lofted a two-our fly ball that Canyon’s right fielder Dakota Newsome misplayed into an RBI triple. Marley Eller followed by doubling home Scott to cut the lead to 9-8 before Reagan Ellison lined out the end the game.
As they have much of the season, the Lady Spartans showed they enjoyed getting to hit first as the visiting team by scoring twice in the first inning. Centennial chalked up a pair of runs on Scott’s RBI-single and a wild throw by the catcher on a Scott’s steal attempt that allowed White to score from third.
We showed a lot of heart tonight,” Sullivan said. “We just couldn’t put all it together. We had a few mental mistakes that put us [behind on the scoreboard].”