By Tommy Keeler Jr.
BERRYVILLE -- Everyone knows hitting can be contagious in softball, but on Tuesday Central showed making errors can be contagious, too.
The Falcons made eight errors which led to a 13-5 loss to Clarke County in Bull Run District softball action.
"We just didn't come out with our heads on straight," Central junior Sydney Plum said. "We can't let one error build to two to build to three. We just have to let it go and go for the next play."
The Falcons gave up 12 runs in the first two innings. The Falcons committed four of their errors in the first inning, which helped lead to four runs.
Clarke County's Megan Rion reached on a two-base error to start things off, and Lexi Call followed with a single. Central starting pitcher Mary Wakeman walked Olivia Gore to load the bases and then walked Helen Good to bring in the first run.
The Falcons (2-4, 0-2 Bull Run) were able to get a force out on a grounder by Sarah Miller, but a throwing error helped give the Eagles a 3-0 lead. Another throwing error later in the inning pushed the lead to 4-0.
The Eagles (5-1, 1-0 Bull Run) added eight runs in the bottom of the second, but scored many of them with hits.
Gore and Good each had two-run doubles to lead the way for the Eagles in the inning.
"I thought we hit real well," Clarke County coach Susan Grubbs said. "We came out of the box real well hitting."
The Falcons had their chances early in the game. Wakeman and Katelyn Poston each singled against Clarke County pitcher Miller to start the game.
Wakeman and Poston each stole a base to move to second and third with no outs, but Miller struck out the next three batters.
"I thought she did extremely well the first couple innings," Grubbs said. "[In the first] they had some big guns up there [with no outs], she kept her poise. We got out of the inning unscathed -- that's big."
Central finally got on the board in the top of the third as Plum hit a solo home run, her fifth of the season, to cut the lead to 12-1.
"It was high and it was right down the middle, so I just turned on it," Plum said. "But a solo home run doesn't out-beat a team win."
The game looked like it might be a run-rule game until the Falcons rallied in the fifth. Trailing 13-1 entering the top of the fifth, the Falcons scored three runs. Clarke County helped Central out with three errors in the inning. Jessica Rodriguez had an RBI single for the Falcons.
The Falcons had a chance to get even closer in the top of the sixth. Wakeman and Poston singled with one out. With two outs and Plum at the plate, Wakeman stole third, Poston then stole second on a delayed steal, beating the Clarke County throw. Wakeman then tried to steal home, but was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
"We just have to take the chances that we have," Plum said. "We can't leave baserunners out there and we have to put forth 100 percent."
One definite bright spot for Central was the pitching of Rebekah Ansbro. The freshman came on in relief with two outs in the second inning. She pitched 4 1/3 innings, striking out six and allowing only two hits.
"She did great," Central coach Lisa Rhodes said of Ansbro. "She came in and she answered. She took charge out there. She did what we needed her to do."
Clarke County is without starting pitcher Sarah Herndon due to an injury suffered the first week of practice. Grubbs said Herndon is expected back within the next two weeks.
Becky Smith led the Eagles at the plate with two hits.
The Falcons were led by Wakeman, Poston, Mikayla Viar and Rodriguez with two hits each.
Central has another tough district game with Madison County on Friday, and Plum said the team needs to learn from the loss to Clarke County.
"It's a learning experience," Plum said. "It's still early in the season. And were still learning who everyone is, and where we need to pick each other up.
"You can only go up from here."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org