USA Central rallies back against USA West for 8-3 win

Date Published: 
August 7, 2014

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark  : Above, Sarah Layton takes control of a pop fly to record the out against USA Central. Right, Central catcher Jessi Ramos has the ‘eye of the tiger.’Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark : Above, Sarah Layton takes control of a pop fly to record the out against USA Central. Right, Central catcher Jessi Ramos has the ‘eye of the tiger.’The USA Central Big League team from Grand Rapids, Mich., is here to win a World Series championship, and they made those aspirations very clear last Tuesday, when they rallied back in the sixth inning against USA West (Antelope Valley, Calif.) to finish with an 8-3 win and advance to 3-0 in tournament play.

USA West took the early lead in the top of the first inning with an RBI-single from Mackenzie Draper, to make it 1-0. However, they’d leave two runners stranded in that inning, after a key strikeout from Central pitcher Morgan Swift.

Down 2-0, it was Central shortstop/pitcher Danielle Freeman who got her team on the board, with an RBI-double to left field that scored Brit McLain and cut the West lead to one.

USA West’s Melissa Munoz came in to pinch hit to start the sixth inning, with the score still 2-1, and knocked a home run over the centerfield fence, to stretch the lead to 3-1. Freeman came in to pitch for Swift in relief after that, with Teagan Shomin moving over to replace Freeman at short.

After getting her team out of the inning from the circle, Freeman stepped into the batter’s box, getting on base with a line-drive single to left field and eventually scoring off a Caileigh Duddles RBI to again cut the West lead to one run.

Ashley Cross gave Central a 4-3 lead on the next at-bat, when she lined a shot past short for a double and scored two runners. Doubles from Schyler Selander and from Freeman in her second at-bat of the inning continued to move the bases as Central took an 8-3 lead.

“Some of our leaders got in scoring position, and we were still down at that point. She came up and delivered a big hit, scored two,” recalled Central manager Jeff Edgerle of Cross’ effort. “We took the lead. I think we relaxed at that point, once we got up.”

“Hitting is just contagious. Once one person gets going, from there everyone gets going,” added Central’s A.J. Castle, who entered the game to contribute to the hitting party.

During the seven-run rally, Edgerle continued to ask his team for more runs.

“You always want a two-run cushion,” he explained. “Once you get the two-run cushion, then it becomes four — because three, they can still beat you with a grand slam. You kind of play for runs in sectors there.”

The win boosted Central to 3-0, and while Edgerle and his squad remained focused on their next opponent, they still have their ultimate goal in mind.

“We came here to win this,” he said. “I would hope every team came here to win this. You’re gonna make the trip. That’s why you come, is to win this tournament. We came here just like everybody else, to win this thing, and we put ourselves in position to do just that.”