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Central girls softball team claims district title
Central senior Bailey Kratochvil saw signs that Tigers pitcher Kadie Orenstein was going to have a good day before the Class 4 District 1 championship game even began Monday.
"Actually in the warmups," Kratochvil said. "She was warming up and you could just tell she was bringing it. She was focused. Kadie always comes out ready to play, ready to perform, and she was just ready this game. She had us going the whole game."
Tatiana Reagan, the only other senior on Central's roster, made the same observation
"I don't know," Reagan said. "There was just something about her. She's just focused."
Orenstein's pregame form translated to dominance in the circle. She allowed just two hits in Central's 9-0 win over top-seed Farmington at Jackson City Park.
"On the mound, I just knew it would come all together," Orenstein said. "Defense was there, our hitting was there. Sarah [Kitchen] was great behind the plate, and when all the pieces come together it turns out like this -- a district championship."
Central (11-12) was the bottom seed of the six-team tournament but outscored opponents 32-11 on the way to its first district softball title since 2004.
"We've had capability, and we've been able to do this," Orenstein said. "We had a lot of potential as a team this year, and it just took one or two games to really get us fired up for districts, what matters. We knew we flipped a switch, and we turned it on."
Central will visit the winner of the Class 4 District 2 title game between Fox and Northwest on Wednesday.
Orenstein, a junior, struck out eight batters and walked just one. She did not give up a hit until Farmington's Randi Scruggs bunted her way on with one out in the sixth inning. Orenstein fielded the bunt cleanly, but her throw was late and wide. She gave up a double in the top of the seventh.
"I thought she did a great job changing planes," said Central coach Amy Blattel, who said she would rule an error on the bunt play. "She went up in the zone, down in the zone and really mixed it up."
Central produced all the offense Orenstein would need in the third inning, although things didn't go quite as planned.
Freshman Mariah Taylor was hit by a pitch to start the inning, but she was thrown out at second when Reagan failed to get a bunt down.
"I was mad at myself because coach always says, ‘Get the bunts down.' For the most part I can get them down," Reagan said. "And then Mariah got out at second, and I was just like, ‘Well I have to do something,' so I just swung away."
Reagan, the No. 9 hitter, hit a ground-rule double to left-center field on the next pitch.
"She's very capable," Blattel said about Reagan. "She's got some speed down there. She can lay down a bunt. She can hit. One through nine, I have confidence in all of them."
After one of seven Farmington errors allowed Madison Daum to reach, Kratochvil earned Central the lead with a triple.
"I just remember connecting with the ball, and I saw it go," Kratochvil said. "I knew who I had on base were aggressive runners, and I knew they would score. I just kept running to try to get as far as I could."
A Farmington infielder threw the ball past third base as Kratochvil slid into the bag, allowing her to score and give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
"This tournament, coming in, we knew we had to be ready to hit," Kratochvil said. "We knew we could win this."
The Tigers recorded six hits Monday.
"We haven't been waiting on the ball," Kratochvil said. "Anybody we play, we don't wait on the ball. We were struggling with that, and we came out here, and we waited and we drove the ball. We just got hits and got runs."
Freshman first baseman Brooke Anderson singled home two more runs later in the third inning.
Central added its final four runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Sarah Kitchen, who was 2 for 4 on the day, doubled to lead off before the next three Central batters reached on two walks and a hit-by-pitch.
Rebecca Kitchen and Reagan recorded RBIs in the inning and another run scored on an illegal pitch.
Orenstein finished off her gem in the bottom of inning with a strikeout.
"Well, we always talk about putting a banner on the new field, and that's awesome," said Reagan, thinking about hanging up the first district championship banner at Central's softball field. "It's cool that now we won it, and we can start a new tradition now."
|Central||005 000 4||--||9||6||2|
|Farmington||000||000||0 -- 0 2||7|
WP -- Kadie Orenstein. LP -- Kaila Nash. 3B -- Bailey Kratochvil (C). 2B -- Brittany Link (F), Sarah Kitchen (C), Tatiana Reagan (C). Multiple hits -- Central: Kitchen 2-4. Records -- Central 11-12, Farmington 17-9.