The Central Rebels are normally known for their potent offense that maddens opponents, but it’s their pitching that has stolen the show lately. They held the always dangerous Valle Catholic Warriors to just three runs in an upset victory last week, and then followed that up with shutouts over Cape Central and Fredericktown this week.
They blanked the Tigers 3-0 on Monday before edging out the Blackcats 1-0 on Thursday.
Lucas Whitehead got the start on Monday and pulled off the complete game shutout. He fired seven innings of one-hit ball and walked just one batter while striking out six. In fact, he faced just one batter over the minimum in the dominant effort.
The offense was quiet, but they didn’t need much with the way Whitehead was throwing. Even if they weren’t swing big sticks in this one, the Rebels were still running wild. Casen Murphy led off the game with a walk, advanced to second on another and then stole third. One pitch later he swiped home for a 1-0 lead.
Central wouldn’t score again until the 7th, but they tacked on some much needed insurance runs in the top half of the final frame. Murphy drove in a run with groundout before Sammy Callaway drove him in from second, which he had just stolen.
Whitehead retired the side in order in the bottom half of the inning and the Rebels had themselves a hard-fought victory. Murphy and Callaway had the team’s only hits but Central was able to generate nine walks and stole 15 bases. Murphy had eight of them. Eight! That is the type of total that would make even Rickey Henderson blush.
On Thursday it was Murphy’s turn to dominate on the mound. The ace hurler spun a seven inning two-hit shutout while walking just one batter and striking out 12 Blackcats. The win was his fourth of the season and Murphy has yet to allow an earned run this year. He’s stuck out 43 in 23.1 innings so far.
As for the offense, the Rebels managed just one hit, a single by Jobe Bryant, but it was all they would need with Murphy throwing B-Bs. The only run of the game came in the fourth inning where Kendall Horton scored on an error. Four walks were the only baserunners for the Rebels outside of Bryant’s base-knock.
Murphy allowed a leadoff double in the seventh inning that put the tying run in scoring position, but he promptly struck out the next three batters to end the game. The win made it three in a row for Central and improved their record to 7-1.
They will head to DeSoto on Monday to take on the 1-6 Dragons and try to make it four in a row.