Six-run 6th lifts Fruita past Central

Fruita Monument used an all-around effort and a six-run sixth inning to break open a close Southwestern League softball game against Central on Tuesday.

The Wildcats got a two-run double from Makenzi DeCrow and took advantage of three Central errors in the sixth to pick up a 9-1 win at Bergman Field.

To that point, the game was well-played with good pitching and sparkling defensive plays turned in by both teams.

Olivia Bratt delivered a scrappy effort on the mound for the Wildcats, going the distance and striking out six.

Fruita Monument (10-7, 3-1 SWL) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Rachel Skillicorn singled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by DeCrow. The Wildcats upped the lead to 2-0 in the second when Regan Wood scored on a single by Bratt.

Central had plenty of chances in the first four innings but only scratched out a run in the fourth when Tiana Wirth ripped a run-scoring single.

Fruita Monument was solid in all phases of the game. In the second inning, after Megan Cosslett singled for Central, DeCrow grabbed a grounder by Wirth at third base to start a 5-4-3 double play.

In the fourth, DeCrow fielded another shot, touched the bag at third and rifled a throw to first for a second double play.

“Olivia threw the ball great. She got down in a couple of counts but came back and got some good ground balls,” Fruita Monument coach Eddie Mort said. “They are a good hitting team, and she threw the ball well tonight, so that’s a good win for us.”

With runners on first and second with two outs, DeCrow was robbed of an extra-base hit by right-fielder Sierra Batchelor, who stretched to snare a line drive that appeared to be headed for the gap.

“Normally I’m not an opposite-field hitter, so when I do hit it there and they snag it, it kind of makes me upset,” she said with a smile.

In the sixth, DeCrow’s laser to the left-center gap off reliever Amanda Etcheverry plated Skillicorn and Pratt.

“I went in there with a two-strike mentality and got the hit we needed,” DeCrow said.

Central (10-6, 4-2 SWL) had a chance for a big inning in the fourth. Etcheverry blasted a shot off the wall to deep center, just missing a home run. After the double play by DeCrow and first baseman Wood, Britnei Shive grabbed a one-hop single in left and threw out Wirth at the plate.

Shive went from the defensive gem in the field to bat leadoff in the fifth. Central starter Melissa Gellermann hit Shive with a pitch, and she later scored on an RBI single by Adley Swanson to up the lead to 3-1.

Shive went hitless in the game, but she was on base five times with three walks, the hit by pitch, and she also reached on an error. She scored two runs.

In the fifth, Etcheverry, playing second base, cut down a runner at the plate for Central.

Bratt was solid throughout. She picked up her first two strikeouts of the game in the fifth, then struck out four more hitters over the final two innings.

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