ZACHARY — Central High School had everything going its way its District 4-5A opener Tuesday evening at Zachary.
While the offense was busy banging out 14 hits, sophomore pitcher Heather Zumo worked out of jam after jam as the Wildcats rolled to a 9-0 win over the Broncos.
Reagan Willis and Emily Danehower each slammed home runs for Central (7-4, 1-0). Bayleigh Anders, Zumo and Madeline Tarver had three hits apiece.
“We asked our kids to show up and play tonight, and they did,” Central coach Michelle Efferson said. “It was all in sync. It was the first day of sunshine; we had a great practice (Monday). It really paid off.”
Zachary (8-5, 0-1) had its chances against Zumo, but left nine runners stranded. Central put the game away with six runs in its final three at-bats against Zachary ace Baylie Doiron.
“Sometimes the ball bounces your way. Sometimes your pitcher makes a good pitch, and the hitter gets a hold of it,” Zachary coach Leslie Yellot said. “(Doiron) did a pretty good job, but I thought Central did a great job being disciplined as hitters.”
Central took a 1-0 lead in the first on Anders’ two-out, RBI single. Zumo then spent her first three innings battling with runners in scoring position.
A single and a walk put two on in the first, but Zumo got a groundout to get out of the inning. In the second, Tegan Scott led off with a single, but a pop-up bunt attempt led to a double play with Scott being caught off the bag at first.
Lakyn Wales lashed a two-out double to right-center, but was stranded after Zumo struck out the next batter.
The Wildcats turned another double play in the third after Hannah Dixon and Abby Lewis reached base on a walk and a single. Macie Pampell hit a soft liner to Anders at short, and she threw back to second for the second out.
Then the Central bats came alive. Tarver’s two-RBI single highlighted a three-run fourth. Willis launched a two-run blast over the left-field wall in the fifth. Anders had a two-RBI single in a three-run sixth.
Zachary, which had baserunners in every at-bat, got two runners on with two outs in the fifth. Zumo struck out Malloree Milton to end the inning.
In her seven inning shutout, Zumo scattered six hits with four strikeouts and five walks. Four of the walks went to Doiron, who saw 16 straight balls in four plate appearances.
“We walked their pitcher every time she came up,” Efferson said. “She’s a difference-maker. Last year, she beat us all by herself.”
Pampell and Wales each had two hits to pace Zachary, which is ready to move on according to Yellot.
“Our district is so tough that you can’t dwell on any one win or loss,” she said. “There’s no way you can. Its just too tough.”