Warriors come up with big hits when they need them
All it takes is one.
Once the Central High School softball team gets one hit, others will quickly follow.
That was the case Tuesday against Fruita Monument, with Rachel Romine playing the role of catalyst.
The senior third baseman hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth inning. That started the rally as Central broke a scoreless tie with three runs en route to a 4-0 victory over the Wildcats at Bergman Field.
Romine’s base hit to right field brought up her sister Danielle, who belted the game’s only extra-base hit off the top of the right-center field fence, allowing Rachel to score from first.
“I kind of slipped going around (second base),” Rachel said.
With coach Sabrina Juarez waving her around, there was no hesitation rounding third, however.
“I knew I was going,” Rachel said.
Juarez said not sending Rachel home wasn’t an option.
“She’s a smart, smart base runner,” Juarez said after Rachel slid home, just beating the relay throw.
Danielle took third on the throw to the plate, then scored on Mikayla Duffy’s bunt single. Duffy’s courtesy runner, Meghan Mayer, scored on a double steal and the Warriors had all the runs they needed.
To that point, Wildcats starting pitcher Krystina Pacheco had limited the Warriors to two hits and retired nine consecutive batters.
“We couldn’t get anything to drop,” Juarez said. “We hit it right at them.”
“I think we were too anxious (at the plate),” Rachel Romine said.
Duffy, pitching in her second consecutive game, threw the complete-game victory, scattering five hits and striking out four.
“Today, I was on and the ball was moving,” Duffy said of keeping the Fruita Monument hitters off balance.
Fruita Monument (12-6, 8-2) is the only SWL team to hold Central under nine runs this season, having done it twice.
The victory gave the Warriors (13-2, 6-0 Southwestern League) a two-game cushion over the second-place Wildcats in the league standings with doubleheaders against Durango and Montezuma-Cortez this weekend to close out the regular season.
Victories in three of those four games will give Central the outright league title, but the Warriors are taking nothing for granted.
“We have to be ready for anything,” Rachel Romine said.
“We don’t look past any team,” Duffy said. “It’s a goal of our team to go (undefeated in league).”
Juarez said her team’s main focus heading into the last weekend is to not look past any team.
“I told them to just go out and play them like you would a (Grand) Junction or a Fruita,” she said.