Big hits, pitching carry Warriors to win over Junction
All it took for Karen Hayter to break out of a mini slump at the plate was a little adjustment in her batting stroke.
The Central High School senior softball player hadn’t hit the ball as well as she would’ve liked in last weekend’s Dave Sanders Memorial Tournament in Aurora.
She rectified that in a big way Thursday, hitting two doubles and a home run as the Warriors remained unbeaten in the Southwestern League with a 13-5 victory over cross-town rival Grand Junction.
“We changed up my swing tonight,” Hayter said. “I think it helped.”
That was obvious as Hayter had three extra-base hits and scored three times.
“It was just staying level,” she said, the coaching staff urging her to keep an even swing through the plane of the plate.
Central (9-2, 2-0 SWL) struggled through the first three innings against Tigers starting pitcher Elena Arrieta, managing two hits but no runs. The Tigers carried a 1-0 lead — courtesy of Paula Lage’s solo home run in the first inning — into the fourth inning. That’s when the Warriors broke loose for four runs. They did it on only two hits as Grand Junction hurt its cause with four errors.
Central opened it up in the fifth with another four-run inning, kick-started by Danielle Romine’s home run to lead off the bottom of the inning.
“D(anielle)’s home run kind of started it,” Hayter said, but she added to the lead with a solo shot of her own over the center-field fence.
Central’s Mikayla Duffy pitched three batters into the sixth inning before back spasms relegated her to switch places with first baseman Ashley Goletz. Duffy struck out 12 but gave up four runs, three in the top of the sixth when her back started hurting.
Grand Junction (7-3, 0-2) pulled to within 8-5 before Central scored five more runs in the sixth to give itself some breathing room.
“They could’ve given up but they showed some heart,” Tigers coach Adam Diaz said after his team lost its second consecutive game to open league play.
FRUITA MONUMENT 16, MONTROSE 4
The Wildcats wasted no time taking control. Brooke Williams led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run to start an eight-run inning for Fruita Monument.
Williams had three hits, as did Ashleigh Wissel, who hit one double in the victory.
The Wildcats (6-4, 2-0) got a solid pitching performance from Erika Chirdon.