Central baseball, softball teams rally to complete sweep of double-dip with Liberty

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CAMP POINT, Ill. — Friday began and ended with late-inning heroics.

First, Garrett Neisen stranded the tying run in scoring position as the Camp Point Central baseball team rallied from a four-run deficit to beat Liberty 5-4. Then, the Central softball team allowed Liberty to score five times in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game at 6, only to rally for two runs in the bottom of the frame and pull out an 8-7 victory.

The day began ominously at the baseball field as the Eagles scored four times in the top of the first inning — all with two outs.

Central right-hander Conner Griffin sandwiched a walk between a groundout and a strikeout before hitting Jack Sparrow and walking Jackson Sims to load the bases. Jarred Owens delivered a two-run single to center field before a wild pitch and an RBI single by Evan Sims completed the inning.

The Panthers responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame as Nate Peters tripled with one out and Griffin followed with a two-run home run. Tanner Kindhart drove in the other run with a single.

In the third, Central’s Reese Wilkey went to second base on a wild pitch and to third as Kindhart reached on a one-out error. Brydon Allison followed with a sacrifice fly to plate the tying run. In the fifth, Wilkey led off with a single, Kindhart walked and pinch-runner Jase Wallace scored on a wild pitch.

Miller finished with two of the Panthers’ seven hits, while Griffin struck out four and walked five over five innings to earn the victory. Neisen allowed one out and struck out two over two innings of relief to earn the save.

Across the way at the softball diamond, Central scored three runs with two outs in the first inning to take control as Lauren Miller delivered an RBI double and Braizley Allison had a two-run single. The lead grew to 6-1 in the fifth as the Panthers capitalized on a Miller single, an error and two passed balls.

Liberty wasn’t done. The Eagles’ first two batters in the sixth reached safely on an error and a fielder’s choice. One out later, Zanger doubled to left field to plate the first run of the rally. Chandler John followed with a two-run double to center field.

Liberty sandwiched two walks around a groundout to load the bases. A passed ball and an error allowed two runs to score to tie the game before Central reliever Lauren Miller induced a groundout to end the inning.

In the bottom of the frame, singles by Emma Stephens and Claire Huston and a stolen base put two runners in scoring position ahead of Adisen Mace grounding into a fielder’s choice that allowed both runners to score.

In the seventh, Liberty opened with a single and a walk before an error allowed one run to score and put the tying run at second base with one out. Miller got the final two outs to end the game.

Miller went 3 for 3 with a double and three runs scored. Stephens earned the victory in the circle, allowing six hits and three earned runs with three strikeouts and three walks. Ava Heming, Claire Obert and John had two hits apiece for the Eagles.

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