Central High School baseball traveled to Winchester Wednesday, April 17, for the second of a two-game district series with Franklin County. The Red Raiders followed up on a 4-3 win the night before with a 7-5 victory over the Rebels.
"I think that we've finally grown up and finally matured and understand what it takes to win," Coach David Martin said. "We've strung together a few good games in a row and I've told them all year long that everything is a preseason until you get to the tournament."
The win puts the Raiders at a five-game winning streak, starting Friday, April 12 with a 7-2 win over Community at the Grundy County Tournament. The sweep of Franklin County is also the team's first of the season.
"We believe in ourselves now," Martin explained. "We're more confident that we can make the play. We're not hoping to succeed, we're expecting to succeed."
Hayden Skipper got the Raiders on the board early in the first inning. After advancing to third, Skipper went home on a ground out from Skyler Bratcher to put CHS up 1-0.
The Rebels briefly took the lead in the bottom of the first off a pair of runs from Blake Pickett and James Sells to make it a 2-1 ballgame.
The Raiders didn't stay behind for long. In the top of the second, Harley Hinshaw knocked a line drive to center field and brought Owen Neel around from second base. Two at-bats later, Skipper shot another ball to center, bringing in Braden Brown and Griffin Meeker to put CHS up 4-2.
Franklin County didn't add another run until the bottom of the fourth, when Tate Wallace scored on a grounder from Pickett. The Raiders kept it under control by notching two more outs, leaving three Rebel runners on base.
CHS put two more on the board in the fourth inning when Kael McCall drilled a line drive to center to send home Skipper and Brady Nugent. Skipper followed up in the seventh by stealing third and coming home on an error to put the team up 7-3.
In similar fashion to the night before, Franklin County threatened late. After Hinshaw struck out Kal Rigsby for the first out, the Rebels notched two runs back-to-back with Gage Relford waiting on third base.
Hinshaw and the Raiders stayed in control and ended the game on the next at-bat off a pop fly to Skipper at center field.
"Team win. A lot of offense, a lot of good defense. Plays were made that needed to be made," Hinshaw said. "We've got a little more trust and we're just having fun out there."
Hinshaw pitched through all seven innings Wednesday, finishing with two strikeouts, nine hits and five runs.
The Raider batters finished the night with eight hits, led by Skipper and Meeker with two each.