MARTINSBURG - When Central and Tyrone met during the regular-season a month ago, the Scarlet Dragons won by a football-like score of 23-22.
The Blair County rivals hooked up in a District 6 Class AA first-round playoff game Wednesday, and it was more like baseball this time.
Zach Croft tossed a five-hitter, and Logan Stern and Cole Kreider accounted for six hits and five RBIs as Central scored an 8-2 victory.
"[Croft] pitched a fantastic game," Central coach A.J. Hoenstine said of his junior right-hander. "We had a little time off and we've been working on some fundamental things since he pitched last."
"I was throwing a lot of strikes, and I had a great defense behind me," Croft said.
Croft had control of his fastball and he also had a good breaking pitch.
"He went out there and got ahead of hitters," Hoenstine said. "He has good stuff ... I think he's 5-1 now, and he really competed."
Croft struck out six and walked only one.
"That's the key," Hoenstine said of the one walk. "We've had trouble walking guys all year, but he went out and threw strikes and they swung at a lot of first-pitch strikes."
A pair of walks and a two-run single by Kreider put the Dragons on the board in the first inning and they added four more in the second, keyed by Stern's two-run triple.
"It was important to get that early lead," Croft said.
"That's huge," Hoenstine said of the fast start. "We went into a funk for a little while and it was key to get those last two runs. Todd Slick had a key pinch hit in the fifth to make it 7-2."
Central, now 11-8 and the sixth seed, visits third seed Marion Center on Friday in the 6-AA quarterfinals.
Tyrone finished the season with a 7-10 record.
"They started hitting us pretty hard in the second inning," said Tyrone coach Mark Savino. "Hind sight is 20-20. I would have started Ryan Fink, but ... "
Fink pitched the last four innings for Tyrone and gave up only two runs - one earned.
"Central won fair and square," Savino said. "They hit the ball hard, made the plays in the field and their pitcher did an excellent job of hitting the corners."
TYRONE (2): Belinda 2b 300, Gearhart ss 300, Miller p-cf 301, Hample 1b 301, Hunter rf 301, Lingafelt 3b 300, Wirther c 211, Soellner cr 010, Pannebaker cf 100, Fink p 200, Wagner lf 300. Totals - 26-2-4.
CENTRAL (8): Cunningham ss 331, L. Stern 2b 423, Hamm c 200, Hoenstine cr 000, Moore cf 410, Kreider 3b 313, Lewis dh 300, Sleigenweit rf 000, Croft p 200, J. Stern ph 100, Ebersole 1b 201, Flick ph 101, Negley lf 311. Totals - 28-8-10.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Tyrone......................001 010 0-2 4 4
Central240 011 X-8 10 2
E-Cunningham 2, Wither 2, Miller, Lingafelt. 2B-Negley, Kreider. 3B-L. Stern. HR-Wither. RBI-Kreider 3, L. Stern 2, Hamm, Flick.
TyroneIP H R ER SO BB
Miller (L)..................2 5 6 3 2 2
Fink .........................4 5 2 1 2 1
Croft (W)................. 7 4 2 1 6 1
Umpires - Steve Oakes (P); Jim Klausman, Dave Gildea (bases).