NASHVILLE -- With several of her former players now shining as freshmen on the high school level, Nash Central Middle softball coach Laura Thompson wasn't quite sure how competitive her club would be during the 2017 campaign in the always-tough Tri-County Conference.
But what Thompson has found out is that when her Trojans put things together in all phases of the game -- pitching, defense and offense -- they can be pretty tough to beat.
That was certainly the case Monday as the Lady Trojans offered a well-rounded performance as part of a convincing twinbill sweep over rival Parker Middle School in Tri-County Conference action on the NCMS campus.
Scores were 15-3 and 14-0.
Fueled by the strong pitching of ace Skyler Walker, Nash Central took charge in game one early and went on to post a decision over the Lady Pirates.
Each team scored one run apiece in the first inning, and the Pirates briefly took the lead with a one-spot in the top of the second stanza of action.
But the bottom of the second would be a huge inning for Nash Central, which used a collective good eye at the plate to come through with several walks off the Parker pitcher.
The Lady Trojans had six straight walks at one point in the inning, and three more base-on-balls with the bases full increased Nash Central's cushion.
But the biggest hit of the inning -- and the game -- would come later, with the sacks still full.
Nash Central's Jessica Sohn came to the plate and laced a hard-hit liner toward left-center field.
The ball bounced all the way to the wall, and the speedy Sohn would race around the bases -- and beat the throw home for a rare inside-the-park grand slam.
Sohn made her final step one to remember as she jumped on to home plate in celebration as her teammates roared their approval.
Sohn's heroics gave the Lady Trojans a commanding 10-2 advantage -- and that was a lead Walker was determined not to relinquish.
From there, the Lady Trojans would dominate the proceedings on their way to finishing off a school sweep, as the Nash Central Middle School baseball team was also picking up a strong victory over Parker in the adjacent field.
Carmen Pope was the winning pitcher in the second game for Nash Central with no hits allowed to go with six strikeouts.
Thompson would like to have back some of her club's tough earlier losses, but the Lady Trojans appear to be on the upswing heading into the remainder of the 2017 fast-pitch softball campaign.
Nash Central (4-2) will remain at home today as the Lady Trojans continue their Tri-County Conference schedule with a home doubleheader against Phillips Middle School.
First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. at the NCMS Softball Field. Tickets will be available at the gate.
Next Monday, Nash Central will be away at Rocky Mount Middle School.
Pictured (Above): INSIDE (THE PARK) JOB. Nash Central Middle School's Jessica Sohn (right) celebrates as she jumps on home plate to finish off an inside-the-park home run during Monday afternoon's home softball victory against Parker Middle School. (Graphic photos by Geoff Neville)