Gutsy base-running helped the Central softball team put together a pair of late-inning rallies and gave the No. 3-ranked Dutch two pivotal Iowa Conference wins over No. 7 Coe College; 3-2 and 5-4 Wednesday afternoon.
Central capitalized on some rare pitching mistakes by Kohawks ace Ashlee Simon to climb back from an early two-run deficit midway through game one, which stayed at 2-2 until the bottom of the seventh. With the game on the line, Central Coach George Wares boldly sent first baseman Katie Tenboer on a one-out, full-count pitch to pitcher Kiley Lythberg, who smacked the ball to deep right center and Tenboer beat the throw to the plate for the game-winner.
The Dutch again had to play from behind in the nightcap, but responded with a four-run second inning that included an RBI double from catcher Kaitlyn Meyer and shortstop Annie Sarcone’s fifth home run of the season – a two-run blast to left field. Coe tied it at four apiece in the sixth inning, but a defensive error in the bottom of the inning put Sarcone on second base and in place to score what would be the game’s winning run on a single by center fielder Holly Von Fumetti.
Pitcher Kiley Lythberg recorded both wins for Central, going all seven innings in the opener, then coming in to relieve Brie Haycraft for the final five outs of game two.
With the wins, Central has now won 29 of their last 30 games and are alone in first place in the conference at 10-0. Another huge doubleheader is on the horizon, though, as the Dutch host No. 11 Luther on Saturday.