OLNEY — Holding back helped the Centralia High School softball team move forward.
Freshman Audra Davis threw a three-hitter and the Orphan Annies pieced together a run in the seventh Monday for a 1-0 victory over the Olney Tigers in a quarterfinal game of the Centralia Class 3A Regional.
The win sent the Annies (13-19) back home to Rotary Park for a semifinal contest versus Charleston (23-5). The Tigers ended the year 13-16.
The Annies had fallen 7-0 to the Tigers in a regular-season matchup just 11 days before but Davis did not pitch for Centralia.
On Monday she did and struck out eight with one walk while allowing just four baserunners.
“I felt all my pitches were working and the defense had my back,” said Davis, a freshman. “We had the right mentality going into the game.”
“We saw their No. 1 (Emma Spillman) last time but they (the Tigers) didn’t see Audra,” Centralia coach Raigen Schwartz said of the teams’ first matchup. “As a freshman, she’s really stepped up.”
Centralia had four hits off Spillman in their first meeting and had just three on Monday. But after striking out 16 times in the previous contest, the Annies cut that number down to seven.
“We didn’t hit like we should,” said Schwartz. “I wish we would have scored more than one run. But I was proud of how hard they (her players) fought.”
Through six innings, Centralia had just a first-inning double by Kinsley Hawthorne, a single in the sixth by Maelynn Batson and a walk to Davis in the fourth off Spillman.
But in the seventh, Hawthorne led off with a single and Davis squared away for a sacrifice bunt that was fumbled that allowed her to reach and sent pinch-runner Mackenzie Perez to second.
Pinch-hitter Meagan Mahlandt’s sacrifice bunt moved both over before Spillman got a strikeout for the second out.
With Josie Venturini at the plate, a high pitch was partially knocked down by the catcher who then threw to third as Perez scrambled back to the base. But the throw was wide and Perez beat the peg from left field for the game’s lone run.
FINISHING IT OUT
Davis, who had walked the leadoff batter in the first and allowed just a pair of two-out hits in a triple to Sidnee Boldt in the fourth and a single by Jorri Van Dyke in the fifth, gave up a single to Boldt leading off the bottom of the seventh.
But Hawthorne snagged a popped-up bunt attempt at first base and then caught another pop out in foul territory before Davis ended the game with a strikeout.
“This team’s maturity has increased so much since the beginning of the season,” Schwartz said of her club which has only one senior in Batson. “That’s helped us improve.
“It’s been a roller-coaster ride in that it’s taken some time to figure out some things. But ultimately I have confidence in every single player. They’ve toughened up and keep scrapping.”
REGULAR SEASON FINALE
The Annies went into the regional on the heels of a 7-2 victory over Mattoon in the regular season finale.
Hawthorne hit a two-run homer, Batson singled and tripled with two RBI, Madi Wiesen had an RBI double and Jocelyn Hossler had two singles with an RBI.
Hossler went the distance to get the win on a four-hitter with five strikeout and just one walk.
Kam Conlin’s double drove in both runs for the Green Wave (13-18) in the second inning.