Centennial softball coach Mike Livreri knows his team has loads of offensive talent. But even the Bulldogs’ mentor was stunned at what he saw in the fifth inning Wednesday.
Trailing visiting Coronado by one run entering the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs erupted for nine runs on eight hits and turned a close game between teams that are expected to contend for their respective region titles into a rout.
Centennial pounded out 17 hits en route to a 13-4 win over the Cougars.
“Of course, it’s surprising to see it against a good team like Coronado,” Livreri said. “To hit like that and to be as aggressive as we were was surprising, but good to see, but also, we expect to hit the ball.”
Katie Cochran’s sacrifice fly put the Cougars up 4-3 in the top of the fifth inning. Centennial’s Heather Bowen retied the game by leading off the bottom of the inning with a home run to center field.
“Heather doesn’t shy away from a challenge,” Livreri said. “She stepped up and put the team on her shoulders.”
It sparked a huge uprising as the next seven Centennial hitters reached base, six on singles and one on a Coronado error.
Taylor Huntly and Ashley Ross each had a two-run single during that stretch, and Savannah Horvath’s groundout and Alyssa Finger’s two-run single brought in the final three runs.
The Bulldogs (6-2) went from trailing entering their time at bat to having the chance to end the game by the 10-run mercy rule in the same inning.
Every Centennial starter had at least one hit, led by Madison Henzlik, who went 4-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI.
Bowen, Finger, Huntly, Ross and Bailie Nelson each had two hits for Centennial.
Coronado (5-4) didn’t hit a ball out of the infield in the first inning but went up 3-0 on three walks, a single, a wild pitch and a misplayed sacrifice bunt.
Bulldogs starter Kate Rauskin gutted her way through six innings, allowing four hits and walking seven in a 125-pitch effort. Huntly pitched a scoreless seventh.
“Kate’s pitching with a little bit of pain,” Livreri said. “What I really like about Kate is she’s going to battle, no matter what the situation.”
Alyssa Ayers was 2-for-2 for Coronado, which played without pitcher and power hitter Lee Harrison, who suffered a injury to her right hand Tuesday.