Central girls open softball season


Central’s Kinsey Juergens tags out an East Buchanan player  in tournament play last weekend. 

The Central softball team had a tough start to their summer season, ending the first two weeks with a record of 1-6. In their opener on May 20, the girls lost to Starmont by a score of 4-1. Starmont scored a run in the first inning, one in the third and two in the fourth. Central’s Haley Schroeder came across the plate in the seventh, giving the Warriors their only run. Paige Funk was the losing pitcher but struck out seven Starmont batters.

“We had a hard time at the plate and had many errors defensively contributing to the loss,” Coach Becky Lower said.

On May 21 the team traveled to Waukon to take on the Indians. Waukon scored five runs in the first inning. In the second inning, the Indians put six more runs across and added one more in the third. Central was scoreless during the game, and the Indians walked away with a 12-0 victory. Paige Funk took the loss for Central.

“We faced a good team with many veteran players who hit the ball very well,” Coach Lower said. “We failed to get a hit off of Waukon’s topnotch pitcher.”

May 24 found the team facing the Alburnett Pirates in Alburnett for a double header. In the first game, the Pirates scored four runs in the opening inning. After two scoreless innings, Alburnett put three more across in the fourth. Central’s Kinsey Juergens, Laren Lenth and Ashley Nemechek put three runs on the board during the sixth but Alburnett went on to win by a score of 7-3. Nemechek and Darci Eberhardt each had an RBI for the Warriors. Paige Funk was the losing pitcher for Central.

In game two, Central took a three-run lead in the top of the first. The Pirates came back with one run in the bottom of the inning. Alburnett scored two runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Central put another run across in the top of the seventh but lost the game 7-4. Haley Schroeder,  Ashley Nemechek, Darci Eberhardt and Ashley Funk each scored a run for Central. Nemechek also had an RBI. The losing pitcher was Kinsey Juergens.

“Defensively we had too many errors,” Coach Lower commented. “We have many girls playing new positions or varsity positions for the first time so some adjustments will need to be made as we move further into the season. All of the girls are adapting well and learning as we go. I believe in this group of girls and the enthusiasm they exhibit. They will work hard to improve and excel.”

The team traveled to Winthrop to compete in the East Buchanan Tournament, playing three games on June 1.  The Warriors lost game one to Clayton Ridge by a score of 8-1. Kinsey Juergens was on the pitcher’s mound. Ashley Nemechek had the only hit for Central and Hannah Kuehl scored the only run.

“We appeared to be hesitant to swing the bat and failed to find the holes when we did, ” Coach Lower said. “We knew that they would hit the ball and we had too many defensive errors allowing runners on base.”

Central won its second game with a 4-3 score against Wapsie Valley. Paige Funk was the winning pitcher with eight strikeouts. Ashley Nemechek was three-for-four with a run and two RBIs. Gabrielle Berns was two-for-three and Kinsey Juergens was one-for-two and scored a run.  Haley Schroeder and Darci Eberhardt each added a hit while Laren Lenth scored twice.

“We played a solid defensive game and starting swinging the bats allowing runners on and taking advantage of our base running skills,” Coach Lower said.

The third game was against East Buchanan. Central lost that game by a score of 8-0. Paige Funk took the loss on the mound. Ashley Nemechek, Haley Schroeder, Ashley Funk and Megan Nemechek each had a hit.

“Although our hits don’t reflect a strong offensive game, we put the ball in play throughout the lineup but unfortunately hit directly to our opponents,” Coach Lower commented. “I am encouraged with our ability to hit the ball and hope to see the confidence continue to grow. I see improvement already and that is encouraging as we are just getting started with conference play.  We have a busy week ahead with three conference doubleheaders, but we will be missing one of our starters this week and will have to rely on young girls to fill key positions.”

By Pat McTaggart, Freelance Writer

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