Duffy’s bat lifts Central past Junction

Mikayla Duffy couldn’t pitch like she wanted, so she compensated with the bat Thursday night at Bergman Field.

The Central High School senior was 3 for 4 with a two-run home run to lead the Warriors to a 8-5 victory over Grand Junction.

Duffy had trouble throwing a rise and curve ball because of a dislocated index finger on her left (throwing) hand. She dislocated the finger Tuesday sliding into second base against Fruita Monument.

“She’s been icing it for two days,” Central coach Scott Else said. “She basically pitched on heart. She gave up a few more runs than she normally gives up, but she couldn’t throw about three of her pitches. She toughed it out and hit a bomb.”

Duffy’s two-run blast in the second inning gave the fourth-ranked Warriors (11-2, 4-0 SWL) the lead for good at 5-3.

“It felt really good coming off the bat,” Duffy said, fighting back tears. “I needed it a bunch. With my pitching not great, I knew I had to step it up in the box for my team since I wasn’t doing my job on the mound.”

She singled and scored in the fifth on a Taylor Hice sacrifice fly. Duffy singled and scored again in the seventh on a Danielle Romine double. Both of those runs gave Central a two-run margin. Romine was 3 for 4 with two RBI.

Duffy (8-1) allowed four earned runs on eight hits, including a solo home run to Grand Junction senior Paula Lage in the fourth to get the Tigers within one run. Duffy allowed only two hits the rest of the game. She had four walks and struck out eight.

“I toughed it out at practice, taped it and made sure it would be ready to go this game,” Duffy said. “I give (the Tigers) credit, they hit me. Paula had a great hit. My finger is no excuse.”

Grand Junction (7-7, 0-4 SWL) was able to put the ball in play and score three runs off Duffy in the bottom of the first inning to take a 3-2 lead.

Hannah Pilling singled and scored on a Lage single. Kelsey Jull walked and scored with Lage on Morgan Zanski’s single before Duffy got out of the inning.

“We hit off Duffy right from the get-go,” Grand Junction coach Adam Diaz said. “We only had two innings we didn’t have runners on in scoring position.”

The Tigers, though, left the bases loaded in the second inning and stranded 10 for the game.

“That’s been one of our weaknesses throughout the season,” Diaz said. “We’ll get runners on, but don’t get them across.”

Lage was 2 for 3 with two RBI and Pilling was 2 for 3.


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