Road warriors for the bulk of its strong start, the Central DeWitt gave its home fans – who were decked out in green in honor of Andrew Ericksen – something to cheer about Tuesday night.
Playing on its home diamond for just the third time in its first 19 games, the Sabers – ranked 12th in Class 4A – used two big innings to knock off Davenport North, 7-3, in a non-conference tilt.
After the Wildcats opened the game’s scoring with a run in the top of the third, the Sabers answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning.
Payton Preston got things going with a single up the middle and Katie Fox sacrificed her to second.
A single by Morgan Machovec moved the senior even closer and Talbot Kinney’s hit brought Preston home to tie things at 1-1.
They did not stay tied long as Emily Swanson put down a bunt that scored Machovec and Keeley Jansen helped her own cause on the mound with a single to plate Kinney’s courtesy runner, Colleen Klostermann.
Senior Kenzie Rosenboom knocked in a final run with a sacrifice fly to center, and the Sabers led 4-1.
North got a run back in the fifth, but again Central had an answer.
Kinney pushed the lead right back to three with a one-out solo home run and, two batters later, Rosenboom slugged her own homer – a two-run shot – to make it 7-2.
The Wildcats scored once more in the seventh, but could not prevent the Sabers from winning their sixth straight game.
Kinney went 3-for-3 at the plate with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. Rosenboom also drove in two runs, while Swanson scored twice.
Jansen earned the victory, allowing just the three runs and striking out a pair of batters.
The victory at home was sandwiched between a pair of trips west for WaMaC doubleheaders with 10th-ranked Marion Monday and Vinton-Shellsburg Wednesday.
Striking early and late, the Sabers took both games against the Indians, winning 4-1 in the opener and 8-3 in the nightcap.
The two teams were locked in a pitcher’s duel in the opener, with neither team scoring for the first six innings.
The Sabers, though, finally broke through in the seventh.
Preston and Fox both reached base to start the inning and Kinney broke the scoreless tie with her single.
Swanson did her one better, slamming a home run that made it 4-0.
Marion came back with its own homer to lead off the bottom of the seventh, but that was all the damage they could do against senior pitcher Mya Cavanagh.
Cavanagh surrendered just five hits and matched them with five strikeouts.
Machovec, Kinney, Swanson, Jansen, and Preston all had hits for the Sabers with Swanson providing the biggest with her home run.
There proved to be no waiting around for offense in the nightcap as the Sabers scored four runs right away in the first inning and led 7-0 after two innings in an 8-3 victory.
Fox, Machovec, and Kinney opened the game with hits and all scored – Klostermann for Kinney – while Cavanagh added a fourth run on a groundout by Jansen.
Preston, Fox, and Swanson added runs in the second inning and the Sabers were on their way to a victory.
Two nights later, the Sabers piled up the runs in a 17-0 rout of the Vikettes in the opener before rallying for a 7-6 victory in the nightcap.
The Sabers steadily built their lead in the first game, scoring four runs in the first, two in the second, and three in the third, before ending things early with an eight-run fifth inning.
The first seven Central batters of the fifth all reached safely and eventually scored as the Sabers took advantage of a tough game for the Vikettes defense.
Swanson led the Sabers with three hits and drove in three runs. Hannah Palzkill also had three RBIs, while Kinney belted a two-run home run in the first inning.
Jansen earned the victory, spreading out five hits and striking out one.
The Sabers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second game, but Vinton-Shellsburg erased the lead with a six-run fifth inning.
Central, though, made sure the Vikettes’ lead was short-lived, scoring three runs in the sixth to go back in front and the Sabers stayed there for a 7-6 victory.
Ava Morris opened the sixth with a double and took third on a wild pitch before scoring on a bunt single by Alyssa Eden.
Fox moved Eden to second with her own bunt and Machovec singled before Drew Anderson gave the Sabers the lead for good with a two-run double.
Machovec and Rosenboom both had two hits with the former also scoring twice.
Jansen earned the victory in relief, allowing one hit in two innings of work. Hannah VanderHeiden made the start, striking out three.