The red-hot Central Rebels only had two games this week, but it was an adventurous stretch nonetheless. They kept up their high-end play on Wednesday with a 10-0 mercy killing of the Ellington Whippets, but then on Thursday, something rare happened. They lost.
For just the third time this season, the Rebels were bested after running into a buzzsaw in the form of the Hillsboro Hawks. The Hawks have been on fire lately, and they managed to keep it up by doing what no other team could do this year. Shut out the Rebels. They managed to blank Central 3-0, dropping their record to a still incredibly impressive 18-3.
Good news first though. The game against Ellington started off great with Casen Murphy driving in a pair on a single in the first inning for a quick 2-0 lead. Then in the second, an RBI double from Ty Schweiss made it 3-0 before Murphy made the Whippets pay yet again. With two on and two out, the slugging DH cranked a monster blast over the wall in right for a three run bomb and a 6-0 lead.
The Rebels were able to add four more runs in the bottom of the fourth, highlighted by a Sammy Callaway blast. With a runner on he turned on one and corked a ball to left that may still be coming down. That made it 9-0 and Central went on to win 10-zip after completely shutting down the Ellington offense.
Barrett Henson got the start and the win by tossing three shutout innings. Callaway came on in relief and recorded the final six outs in a row. He was perfect and fanned four of the six hitters he faced. That was a nice addition to his theatrics at the plate.
Murphy was the offensive star though with a 2-for-2 effort that included a homer and five RBI. Schweiss had a big game as well as the table-setter atop the lineup. He went 2-for-3, drew a walk, scored three runs and swiped two bases.
The game against the Hawks the next day left more to be desired though. Hillsboro scratched out a run on an error in the second and then added two more in the third with a two-RBI base hit, and that was all the scoring for the entire game.
The Rebels managed just three hits, and the offense was stifled by an impressive pitching performance. They had just four baserunners all game, and didn’t help themselves by committing four errors. Still, the pitching was solid. Kale Dreier went 3.1 innings and allowed just two earned runs, and Kendall Horton shined in relief with 3.2 shutout innings of two-hit ball.
This likely wasn’t the way Central wanted to head into the District Tournament, but it was certainly just a solitary hiccup that they should recover from quite easily. Expectations for a deep run in the tournament are more than realistic.