Central baseball cruises in playoff
MARTINSBURG – It’s amazing just how hot the Central High School baseball team has been.
After beginning the season with four losses, the Dragons rattled off 13 straight victories entering the postseason.
On Thursday, Central remained scorching hot, routing the Southern Huntingdon, 10-0, in five innings in the first round of the District 6 Class AA playoffs.
“I’ve been really impressed with these guys the last couple of weeks,” Central coach A.J. Hoenstine said. “We started off rough but we keep practicing and working hard and now they all believe in each other. Hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
Central starting pitcher Ethan Lewis, a junior lefty, was strong, allowing just two singles, while blanking the Rockets for five innings. He walked only one and struck out seven, while striking out the side in the top of the second inning.
“Ethan threw another gem,” Hoenstine said.
“He had command of his of his fastball, especially early in the game,” Southern Huntingdon coach Rick Wilson said.
After a scoreless top of the first by the Rockets, the Dragons got on the board with three runs. Central’s leadoff man, Austin Cunningham, led off with a walk and later scored on a single to left by Jay Stern.
When No. 4 hitter Kasy Hamm reached on a Southern Huntingdon error, teammate Bradi Moore delivered with a two-run, two-out triple.
Hoenstine stressed just how important it was to jump on the Rockets early.
“It’s always important to do that,” Hoenstine said. “But even more so in the playoffs.”
The Dragons scored a pair of second-inning runs against Southern Huntingdon starter Jarrett Ford. With one out, Kreider walked, and No. 9 hitter Zach Slagenweit singled to right. Cunningham’s infield single plated Kreider and the following batter, Lewis, hit a sacrifice fly that scored Slagenweit.
Ford blanked the Dragons in the third and fourth innings, but after he walked the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning, Davey Dickinson entered for the Rockets.
Dickinson never recorded an out, allowing two walks, a single and hit a batter along the way. All of a sudden the game ended on a mercy rule when Kreider delivered a two-run single.
Moore was 3-for-3, scored a run, hit a triple and had three RBIs for the winners.
The Dragons upped their record to 14-4 and will now play Bellwood-Antis in round two of districts next week.
SOUTHERN HUNTINGDON (0): Hobble dh 200, Herman 1b 000, Whitesel cf/c 100, Ford p/cf 200, Carbaugh c/3b 200, Beam lf 200, Dickinson ss/p 200, Fritz rf 202, James 2b 100, Rogers 3b 100. Totals 15 0 2.
CENTRAL (10): Cunningham ss 111, Lewis p 200, Stern 1b 221, Hamm c 220, Moore lf 313, Croft dh 210, Mellott rf 000, Mock 2b 210, Kreider 3b 212, Slagenweit cf 111. Totals 17 10 8.
SCORE BY INNINGS
Southern Huntingdon 000 00 0 2 1
Central 320 05 10 8 0
E Beam. 2b Kreider. 3b Moore. Sf Lewis. Sac bunt Slagenweit. RBI Stern, Moore 3, Cunnngham, Mock 2, Kreider 2. Sac bunt James. WP Lewis. LP Ford. SO Lewis 7, Ford 2. BB Lewis 1, Ford 4, Dickinson 2.
Records: Southern Huntingdon (6-13); Central (14-4).