CENTRAL CITY — Time was growing short. For Central City softball coach Dave Johnson, angst was setting in.
“We weren’t capitalizing, and all of a sudden, we were six outs away from getting beat,” Johnson said.
Madison Tritle didn’t share Johnson’s concern.
“Nope. You can’t have nerves in that situation,” she said. “We just got together and told each other we had to believe in each other, we had to focus.”
The Wildcats exploded for five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, then held off Springville, 7-5, in a Class 1A regional quarterfinal Wednesday night at Central City High School.
“It’s good to get that first one,” pitcher Sara Reid said. “We hadn’t had a first-round bye for a while, and this should take all the nerves out.”
Central City (31-10) defeated Springville for the third time this season and advances to Friday’s regional semifinal against No. 11 Belle Plaine (23-8), an 8-5 winner Wednesday over Calamus-Wheatland. The game will be played at Belle Plaine.
The Wildcats can exhale now, but it was pretty dicey for a while. Springville (18-22) scored three runs in the top of the third inning for a 3-1 advantage, and still led 3-2 heading to the bottom of the sixth.
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The No. 9 batter, Reid started the rally with a single, her third of the game. That started an onslaught in which the first eight batters reached base.
Leeah Weber’s single plated Tritle to get the Wildcats even at 3-3, then Gabrielle Cruise followed with another hit to put Central City in front for good.
A groundout by Madi Fleming made it 5-3, a throwing error scored two more, and that turned out to be major when the Orioles scored twice in the top of the seventh.
The second baseman, Tritle ranged to shallow centerfield to glove a liner by Nichole Kane for the second out with the tying run on base.
“I have pretty good range, and I trust my ability to make that catch,” said Tritle, who will report for National Guard duty in August.
The Wildcats prevailed despite stranding 10 runners and committing four errors.
“We’ve got to step it up next round,” Tritle said. “I don’t think we played our best game tonight.”
CENTRAL CITY 7, SPRINGVILLE 5
1A Regional Quarterfinal, at Central City
Springville 003 000 2 — 5 5 2
Central City 010 105 x — 7 11 4
Kali Spicer, Libby Moore (6) and Grace Matus. Sara Reid and Madi Fleming. W — Reid (18-6). L — Spicer (9-6).
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