Central High School softball hosted Tullahoma Tuesday, April 16, for a district matchup with the cross-county rival. After a slower start for both offenses, the Lady Raiders took off late for a 6-0 shutout of the Lady Cats.
"A great team effort. I told the girls, everybody all around, infield, outfield, pitching, offensively," Coach Brandon McWhorter said. "Everybody contributed in some way."
At the start, the game looked like it would develop into a pitcher's duel. Neither team was able to score a run through the first 3.5 innings. Keri Munn struck out seven Tullahoma batters through this period to keep the game manageable.
CHS was unable to take advantage, leaving runners on base in the first, second and third innings.
"The first inning was a coach's mistake, I had a chance to score and I didn't," McWhorter acknowledged. "I held back a little bit but the girls picked me up."
The pickup began in the bottom of the fourth. Haley Richardson kicked off the inning with a grounder to right field for a single. She proceeded to advance to third on a double from Haidyn Campbell. Justus Turner followed at the plate, making contact for a short grounder but advancing to first on an error. Richardson took advantage and ran home to put the Lady Raiders up 1-0.
The girls weren't done yet. After THS pitcher Madison Barnett intentionally walked Katie Rutledge, Ashley Evans came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Evans responded to the intentional walk with a fly ball out to left for a triple, bringing in all three runners to give CHS a 4-0 lead.
"They didn't think that I could put the ball where it needed to be to score a run," Evans said. "I was thinking in my head I gotta do something for the team."
The Lady Raiders added two more in the fifth from Brianna Shelton and Olivia Evans to keep momentum on their side through the game's remainder. The win is the team's second straight after losing two last week to Lincoln County and Siegel.
"They just kind of get back in the groove," McWhorter said. "The two losses we had weren't just devastating losses. They were against good teams, but they needed to get this feel about how to get back into that groove."
The team finished with 10 hits, led by Turner and Richardson with two each. Munn continued to light up the mound through the game's remainder, finishing with 11 strikeouts while holding the Lady Cats to four hits.