Junior Karen Hild's one-out, bases-loaded single to right-center field in the bottom of the ninth scored Amanda Hall and gave Centennial a 1-0 victory yesterday over visiting River Hill.
Both pitchers - Hall for Centennial and Kelly Smith for River Hill - had excellent outings. Hall struck out five, walked two and retired 15 in a row between the first and sixth innings. Smith started for Shannon Jackson, who injured her right wrist Sunday playing soccer, and allowed four hits, walked one and in the middle innings retired 10 of 11 hitters.
Neither defense committed an error, and both teams had a runner tagged out at the plate - River Hill in the sixth and Centennial in the eighth. Both catchers - Robin Smith (Kelly's twin) of River Hill and Centennial's Melissa Boone - threw out a runner at second base, and Eagles right fielder Becca Decesare robbed Kacie Glenn of an extra-base hit with an over-the-shoulder catch in right.
River Hill (2-3), which swept Centennial the last two seasons, had runners on second and third in the eighth, but Hall struck out the final two batters.
In the Centennial ninth, Hall started on second and was sacrificed to third on Decesare's bunt. Sandy Palacorolla and Boone followed with bunts that did not draw throws. That loaded the bases for Hild, who fouled off four straight pitches before the game-winning hit.
For Centennial (3-2), which was coming off a surprising loss to Mount Hebron and, like River Hill, has played inconsistently this season, the victory couldn't have come at a better time.
"Now we know we can play a good game," Hall said. "It gives us a lot of confidence."
Added Centennial coach Dale Huting: "It's the first time we've really executed this well all through a game. We've talked all season about being smart and playing with confidence, and a game like this builds that."
Hammond 6, Glenelg 5: Hammond, which won only one game in each of its last two seasons, scored in the bottom of the seventh to beat the visiting Gladiators (2-3) for the first time since 1993. With one out and the bases loaded, Tara Zammichieli grounded to the left inside of the infield. Lauren Record raced home from third and beat the throw, giving Hammond its second win in five games.