A five-run first inning for Livingson Central proved to be a huge blow to Hopkins County Central as the Lady Cardinals came away with a 12-2 win via the mercy-rule after five innings in Mortons Gap on Friday.

Keira Bryan picked up the loss for the Lady Storm as she worked five innings. Central’s defense was a bright spot in the game.

“We’re a young team, and I’m proud of the way we played defense,” Central head coach Lynette Lewis said. “We got some double plays in the infield, and the outfield made some good plays too. We’re still a little timid with the bats, but that comes with age. I’ve got to get my seniors more zoned in and ready. They probably still have some jitters in there. They’re swinging hard, but they’re waiting until the last second. They need to get out in front.”

Central picked up four hits, including a two-run single off the bat of Mercy Sutton in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“That was a huge hit from Mercy,” Lewis said. “She also had some great defensive plays in left field laying out for a few flyballs.”

The few times Central did get on base, they showed some aggressive base running with Madison Grigg swiping a couple of bags along with Sutton picking up a steal as well.

“We’re working very hard on our base running,” Lewis said. “We’ve got some speed, and we’re going to execute it when we get on base. Madison isn’t the only one that can run, we’ve got several girls that can turn it on and have some wheels.”

Livingston held onto a 7-0 lead in the top of the third and looked to add more with a runner on second and one out. But Central would get out of the jam with a groundout to shortstop followed by Hallie Hollis making a heads-up throw to third for a double play.

After the Lady Cardinal plated two more in the top of the fourth, Sutton’s two-RBI single cut the Livingston lead to 9-2. Bryan gave up three runs in the top of the fifth to give Livingston a 10-run cushion and they slammed the door in the bottom of the frame to end the ballgame early.

Central will be back in action this afternoon at Union County for the Class 2A Sectional.

“Union County is a good defensive, hard-hitting team,” Lewis said. “We’re going to go down there and give it all we got.”

First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. in Morganfield.

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