Base traffic doesn’t hamper Central’s Gellermann in win

Central’s Melissa Gellermann struck out 14 batters Tuesday night in the Warriors’ 5-0 victory over Fruita Monument at Bergman Field.

Lots of base runners used to bother Melissa Gellermann when she was in the pitcher’s circle.

No more.

Gellermann, a four-year starter for Central High School, allowed at least one Fruita Monument base runner in six of her seven innings Tuesday but pitched a four-hit shutout in the Warriors’ 5-0 victory at Bergman Field.

“If she would have gotten in that situation as a freshman or sophomore, she would have handled it totally different,” Central coach Scott Else said. “She would have gotten down on herself and been upset. Now her maturity as a senior shows.”

It’s also the reason, Else said, why Gellermann has six colleges actively recruiting her. And thanks in part to her contributions, the Warriors (11-2-1, 3-0 Southwestern League) pushed their winning streak in league play to 20 games dating back to the 2013 season.

Gellermann struck out 14 and walked three. The only time she set Fruita down in order was when she struck out the side the fourth inning, and six of the final seven outs she recorded were by strikeout.

Her maturity showed in the third inning, when she got out of a bases-loaded jam and kept the Wildcats (7-7, 2-2) from cutting into what was a 4-0 lead.

“(Base runners) really used to really bother me,” Gellermann said. “Now I have so much trust in my defense knowing they can get me out of anything. Even if the bases are loaded, I know if I get them a ground ball, they’ll stop anything.”

Taylor Laing took the loss for Fruita, allowing two earned runs and two walks with four strikeouts. The Wildcats were disappointed about the nine runners they left on base.

“We were missing those key hits at the right time. That’s what we needed,” first-year Fruita coach Stephanie Williams said. “They were just not mentally ready to hit tonight and didn’t pick good pitches to swing at. That’s what we saw as a coaching staff.”

Brandi Haller hit Gellermann’s first pitch of the game to right field and was moved to second on a sacrifice from Shay Cutshall, but Gellermann struck out Adley Swanson and Laing to end the threat. In the third inning, Laing walked with two outs to load the bases before an opposite-field line drive by Lexi DiDonato was snagged by Central third baseman Tori Schuman to end the inning.

Gellermann gave the Warriors the lead for good in the bottom of the first with a two-run double. Each of Central’s next three runs were scored on Fruita errors.

Haley Coghill had three of Central’s six hits. Hannah Thornberg’s double to lead off the third inning was the only extra-base hit of the game for Fruita.


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