Hixson had more hits than Central on Tuesday afternoon, but the Lady Pounders made theirs count more in a 6-3 District 6-AA softball game at Central.
The Lady Wildcats had runners on base all game long except the first inning. Hixson finished the game with a dozen runners stranded, including two runners stranded in the second, third, fourth and sixth innings while leaving one on in the fifth and the bases loaded in the seventh.
Central freshman Brooke Parrott scattered nine hits, but she also had nine strikeouts and she made big pitches at the most critical times, most often with runners in scoring position.
"We've been working on some things, but my seniors stepped up today as we did what we needed to do to win," said Central coach LeeAnne Shurette after her Lady Pounders had improved to 5-4 overall and 1-0 in 6-AA.
"We made some adjustments at the plate and that helped the second time through, but we were able to put a few hits together. It was nice to have some insurance runs late, but we've been in a pressure situation before with the bases loaded, so that was important in the seventh.
"I thought that Brooke pitched a pretty good game, but I have a lot of confidence in all of my pitchers," Shurette added.
Central took a 1-0 lead in the third when Sam Scott's groundout plated Brittney Sylvester, who had reached on a single.
Hixson knotted the score in the fourth when Virginia Rivers drove in Marissa Murray, who had reached on a one-out double.
A walk to Shai Markum and an error put two Central runners on in the fourth with two outs with Markum racing home on another single by Sylvester.
It was still a close game at that point, but Central put it out of reach with four runs in the fifth.
Lexie Ainslie led off with a walk before Scott singled. Another walk to Parrott loaded the bases with Ainslie and Scott scoring on a two-run single up the middle by Alexis Grampp. Ally Welch plated the third run with a sacrifice fly while Markum drove in the fourth with a sharp single to right.
Hixson put a rally together in the seventh and scored twice, but couldn't get the clutch hit with the bases loaded.
Jessica Green reached third on an error when a long fly to center was dropped and she scored on a single by Ciera Taylor. A walk to Abigail Tipton and a single by Murray loaded the bases before Parrott got the second out on a called third strike. Savannah Keef then drove in a run when she reached on a fielder's choce, but Parrott coaxed Rivers into a pop to short to end the game.
"We fought hard, but we just have to execute when we have runners on base," said Hixson coach Jayme Putman after her team had lost for the third time in three games to start the season.
"Central can hit it, but we just have to hit it with them and we need to finish when we have runners on base. But it seems like it's always a close game when we play Central," Putman added.
Murray had three hits to lead the Lady Wildcats while Taylor finished with two.
Sylvester was the only Central player with two hits.
Parrott was the winning pitcher as she allowed three runs on nine hits while recording nine strikeouts and allowing three walks. Jessica Green was tagged with the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits. She had four walks and three strikeouts.
Central returns to action with a home game against Tyner while Hixson's next game Is Friday afternoon against Red Bank in the opening round of the Lady Wildcat Classic.
HIXSON 000 100 2 -- 3 9 1
CENTRAL 001 114 x -- 6 7 1
Green and Keef; Parrott and Welch.
(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@Comcast.net)