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Defense steps up as Central wins in shutout

PARK HILLS — Two critical plays by the Central defense squashed a pair of dangerous Perryville rallies on Monday, and helped junior Morgin Reece pitch her first shutout of the softball season.

The Lady Rebels ended two separate innings by recording the final out between third base and home, and defeated visiting Perryville 3-0 in a rematch of last year’s district semifinal thriller.

Freshman shortstop Maddie Hart contributed two successful bunts as Central (4-2) scored twice in the opening frame and once in the fifth.

She also atoned for an early base-running mistake and an error that loaded the bases in the Perryville sixth.

Hart stabbed a line drive struck by left fielder Kayla Fahnestock, and quickly doubled off the lead runner at third for an inning-ending double play.

Reece worked a perfect seventh against the bottom of the order to notch the complete-game win. The right-hander allowed six hits overall and struck out four after retiring her first seven batters.

Central immediately grabbed the lead with two unearned tallies against Lady Pirates starter Kelcie Fahnestock as senior Ashley Hovis singled and reached home when Hart’s sacrifice was thrown past first base.

Olivia Casey moved from catcher to designated player in the lineup to rest a sore wrist, and fouled five consecutive pitches away before lining an RBI single off the center fielder’s outstretched glove for a 2-0 lead.

Perryville (1-6) looked to counter in the third, getting singles from Shay James, Kelcie Fahnestock and Emma Nelson.

But Central right fielder Megan Jacobs tracked the shallow two-out bloop from Nelson, and cut down James with an accurate throw to the plate.

The Lady Pirates wasted a leadoff hit in the fourth from Aleshia Reiss, who finished 2-for-3 overall, and went quietly in the fifth after Alex Huff made a sliding catch in center field.

Georgia Richardson, who suddenly ended Perryville’s 2011 campaign with a three-run homer in walk-off fashion, netted an RBI ground out in the fifth on Monday as Hovis scored her second run.

Hanna Stam doubled and Madison Furry singled for the Lady Rebels, who will face North County today in a key MAAA Conference game. Both teams have started the league schedule at 2-0.

Perryville  000 000 0 – 0  6  1

Central  200 010 x – 3  5  1

W – Morgin Reece 7ip 0r 0er 6h 4k 1bb.

L – Kelcie Fahnestock 4ip 2r 0er 4h 2k 1bb.

Hitting:

Perryville – Aleshia Reiss 2-3, Kelcie Fahnestock 1-3, Emma Nelson 1-3, Hailey Richardet 1-3, Shay James 1-3.

Central – Maddie Hart 1-1, Ashley Hovis 1-2, Madison Furry 1-2, Hanna Stam 1-3, Olivia Casey 1-3. 2b – Stam.

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