GILLETTE – Cheyenne Central earned a chance to make history today, but it was anything but easy.
The Lady Indians held off a furious rally from Campbell County to take their winner’s bracket final 12-10 on Friday evening at the Wyoming state softball tournament in Gillette.
Central opened its day by holding off Cheyenne East for a 11-10 win.
“I swear these girls have to give me a heart attack every single game,” Indians coach Carrie Barker said. “We kept up the intensity we have been leaning on so much late in the season.
“We’re grabbing momentum and the lead early, and we’re not giving it away.”
Central plays the winner of Campbell County and Kelly Walsh at 11 a.m. today. The Indians can lose one game and still win the state title.
A four-run second inning gave them a 6-0 lead over Campbell County on Friday. They pushed the lead to 8-1 in the third when freshman second baseman Cameron Moyte led off with a solo home run. Junior Brogan Allen added an RBI single.
Central added four more runs in the fourth. Junior center fielder Kaitlyn Ackerman led off with a solo homer. Aubrey Trujillo reached on a dropped third strike and moved to third on Moyte’s single to left. Senior shortstop Jayden Gashler drove both Trujillo and Moyte home on a double to left for an 11-2 lead.
Gashler moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly to deep right field off the bat of Allen for a 12-2 advantage.
“We were more intense at the start of the game, Campbell County brought up its intensity, but we matched it at the end and held on to win,” said Central junior first baseman Lauren Lucas, who was 3 for 5 with three doubles and three RBIs. “We’ve been hitting really well that last couple games, so we feel like we can get hits when we need to.”
Campbell County cut into the lead with four runs in the fourth. Two of those runs came with two outs. The Camels pushed across two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to cut the lead to 12-10.
Andrea Kuhbacher led off the seventh with a single to left, and advanced to second on Davis’ ground out to second. She was tagged out at third on a grounder to third baseman Taylor Gebhart to end the game.
Central is rallying around a pair of sayings from assistant Chace Tavelli.
“He always says, ‘Go out there and take souls,’ and ‘Why not us?,’” Gebhart said. “We’ve really embraced ‘Why not us?’ Somebody is going to be the first team to win a state championship, so why not us?’”
The Indians finished with 13 hits against the Camels. Moyte was 3 for 4 and had a double in addition to her homer. Allen had two hits and three RBIs, while Gashler added a pair of knocks and RBIs.
Ashley Bunch’s lone hit of the contest was a double.
CENTRAL 12, CAMPBELL CO. 10
Cheyenne Central…… 242 400 0 – 12 13 5
Campbell County…… 011 422 0 – 10 16 5
Cheyenne Central pitching: Ammons, Hinz (4), Allen (6) and Naughton. Campbell County pitching: Snyder, Gray (2) and Williams.
W: Ammons (1-1). L: Snyder.
2B: Central 7 (Lucas 3, Bunch, Gebhart, Gashler, Moyte); Campbell County 1 (Curtin). 3B: Campbell County 1 (Curtin). HR: Central 2 (Moyte, Ackerman).
Central 11 Cheyenne East 10
A five-run third inning put Central ahead 8-3 in its opening game of the day. It led 10-4 through four and held on for the 11-10 win.
Seven of the Indians hits went for extra bases, including a two-run homer by Moyte and a solo shot by Ashley Bunch. Allen pounded out two doubles, while Bunch, Lucas and Drue Mirich each had one.
Bunch finished with three RBIs, while Lucas and Moyte both had two.
Gebhart started for Central, working 5-2/3 innings in the circle and striking out six. Left-hander Katie Hinz came on in the sixth and recorded a four-out save. All four outs came on strikeouts.
Sophomore catcher Trista Stehwien had four hits and an RBI for East. Senior Ariana Galicia added three hits, while Ella Neider and Jaylyn McMahon both had two. Emily Schlagel drove home three runs for East.
CENTRAL 11, EAST 10
Cheyenne East…… 300 105 1 – 10 16 3
Cheyenne Central…… 305 201 X – 11 10 4
Cheyenne East pitching: Christensen, Galicia (3) and Stehwien. Cheyenne Central pitching: Gebhart, Hinz (6) and Naughton.
W: Gebhart (3-2). L: Christensen. S: Hinz (1)
2B: Central 5 (Lucas, Bunch, Allen 2, Mirich); East 3 (Schlagel, Stehwien 2). 3B: East 2 (Oswald, Galicia). HR: Central 2 (Moyte, Bunch).