BASE TAKER. Nash Central’s Tiffany Macklin slides into second base during last week’s matchup versus Hunt. (Submitted photos by Anthony Barham)
RED OAK -- Two of the area’s top performers engaged in a pitcher’s duel when Nash Central traveled to Northern Nash last Tuesday for a Big East Conference softball showdown.
Central senior Ashley Bone tossed a six-hitter as the Lady Bulldogs scored a 4-2 decision against host Northern.
Nash Central remained undefeated with the victory, but the Lady Bulldogs’ streak would end Thursday with a 5-1 loss at home against league foe Wilson Hunt.
NC, coached by Gary Smith, is now 13-1 overall to go with a 3-1 mark in Big East play. That left the Lady Bulldogs tied with Hunt for the No. 2 position in the league behind leader Southern Nash -- a team Central hosted this Tuesday.
“I think our girls realize that they didn’t play their best last Thursday,’’ Smith said. “We made some errors and other mistakes that hurt us. They realize that we have to come back, and they knew what was at stake (against Southern Nash).’’’
Central’s week began with a hard-fought decision at Northern Nash as Bone, who has signed with the University of North Carolina, struck out 16 batters while walking just two Lady Knights.
Braswell was also solid as she yielded just five hits while striking out nine.
Nash Central scored all of its runs in the top of the third as Bone delivered a two-run double and Kristen Shuford and Cecelia Lapp also came through with RBI.
Northern Nash did its damage late as the Lady Knights posted single runs in both the bottom of the sixth and seventh stanzas.
Northern, trailing 4-2, put the potential winning run at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Bone was able to calmly end the threat with a clutch strikeout that ended the matchup.
Against Hunt, the Lady Bulldogs were never able to recover from the Lady Warriors’ three-run uprising in the top of the third inning.
“We just didn’t make some good plays in that inning,’’ Smith said.
Central hoped for some redemption Tuesday against Southern Nash, which has yet to lose in conference play this year.
Central will then be on the road Thursday at Rocky Mount for another league event.