Central clobbers Bald Eagle Area

MILESBURG — Central’s offense exploded against Bald Eagle Area freshman Madison Peters in Thursday’s District 6 3A softball semifinals here Thursday, pounding out 14 hits in a 10-1 upset of the second-seeded Eagles.

Central now advances to the district finals against defending champion Philipsburg-Osceola Wednesday at 5 p.m. at St. Francis. P-O beat Ligonier Valley, 1-0 Thursday.

The Lady Dragons got three-hit efforts from Olivia Smith, Ashley Negley and Cam Feathers to fuel the upset.

“Smith, a four-year starter for Coach Dale Walter, tore an ACL in September but recovered in time to join the team in mid-April.

“She wanted to be here,” Walter said of his second baseman. “She’s a dynamic player. Her head is always in the game. The other girls feed off her.“”

Smith had three sharp singles and scored twice including a the first run in a seven-run outburst in the second inning that broke the game open. She scored again in the fifth on Grace Baker’s double.

Negley also had three singles and scored twice.

“She’s our most consistent hitter,” Walter said. “I don’t know if she feels pressure in any part of her life. She keeps hitting simple. She sees the ball and hits the ball.”

After Negley scored the first run of the game on Cassi Mock’s sacrifice fly to center in the second inning, she was in the middle of the third-inning rally, singling and scoring on a BEA error for the fourth run in the inning. Smith, Jenna Ritchey, Cam Feathers and Mock all had singles as the Lady Dragons sent 11 batters to the plate.

While Central was pummeling Peters, Central’s Dylan Claycomb kept the BEA bats in check, allowing only four hits, walking two and striking out one.

Central’s final run came in the sixth on a solo homer to right by Feathers with one out.

Walter attributed Central’s offensive outburst with a change in the team’s hitting approach during a week free of games.

“We finally got a week of practice where we could work on some things,” he said. “We were able to regroup and work on some things. We changed our philosophy on how we hit in practice. We actually outhit them (BEA) when we played them here (in a 15-10 early season loss). And we hit well against them when they were at our place.”

A pair of BEA errors contributed to the final score but BEA coach Don Lucas didn’t blame the loss solely on a couple of miscues.

CENTRAL (10): Smith 2b, 5 2 3, Baker, 1b, 511, Ritchey, ss, 5 1 1, Negley, rf, 423, Feathers, c, 4 2 3, Claycomb, p, 3 1 2, Mock, lf, 311, Metzler, cf, 4 0 0, Longenecker, 3b, 3 0 0, Rhule, ph, 1 0 0. Totals – 37 10 14

BALD EAGLE AREA (1): Barnhart cf, 300, Hockenberry lf, 301, McCloskey dp, 300, Yarrison c, 300, Peters, p, 301, Caldana 3b, 300, Woodward ss, 201, Kinley, 2b, 100, Lucas 2b, 200, Kresovich rf, 000. Totals – 24 1 4.

E — Kinley, Woodward . 2B — Baker, Peters. HR — Feathers. RBI — Smith 2, Baker, Negley, Feathers, Mock 2, Hockenberry. LOB — Central 7, BEA 5. SB — Negley.

Pitching: Bald Eagle Area: Peters (L), 7 IP, 10 10R, 14H, 1 BB, 1SO. Central: Clay comb (W), 7 IP, 4H, 1R, 2BB, 1SO.

Records: Central, 14-8, BEA, 16-4.