GLADEVILLE — At first glance, it appeared to be a routine fly ball to left field.
But Morgan Powell’s first-inning fly ball kept carrying until it dropped over the left-field fence for a two-run bomb, launching Wilson Central to a 10-0 blasting of Franklin in a TSSAA sectional.
“I really thought [left-fielder Keaton Woodliff] was going to catch it,” said Powell, who came up after Brittany Wiseman’s one-out single to right field. “I was really surprised.
“When you get a home run in the first inning, it brings the whole team up.”
“It was solid, but I thought it was too high,” Central coach Michael Sheppard said after his Lady Wildcats climbed to 33-15. “I thought if there was wind, it was going to knock it down. It carried and it gave us confidence we could beat this team.”
And at the end of the day, when the Lady Wildcats had their second state tournament berth, and first since 2009, secured, they bypassed the dogpile. There are bigger fish to fry in Murfreesboro next week, starting either Tuesday or Wednesday at Starplex No. 1.
“Our goal the whole years has been not just to get to Murfreesboro, but to do something when we get to Murfreesboro,” said Sheppard, in his fifth season as Central coach. “These girls have just come together and they’re playing real good right now and I’m proud of them.”
And if anyone wondered if players get hurt in the middle of a celebration mob, the answer is yes.
“We did that before it was a really bad idea,” said Powell, referring to the District 9-AAA championship win over Beech eight days earlier. “We need all our players safe for state. All of our ribs got crushed. We couldn’t breathe.
“I was on the bottom. It was bad.”
Armed with the lead, Hannah Bodenhorn pitched a five-inning three-hitter to send Central to the state tournament for the second time in school history, and first since 2009. The junior right-hander walked one and struck out six. She snapped a first-inning line drive and turned it into a double play.
Central had seven hits, including two each by Powell and Brooke Pfefferle. Powell singled and scored in a three-run third inning and drew a bases-loaded walk in a five-run fourth. Pfefferle singled and scored in the third and dropped an opposite-field RBI single into left field in the fourth.
Kendall Eden had a bunt single and scored in the third and a sacrifice fly to center in the fourth. Claire Smith had an RBI groundout in the third and a two-run double off the glove of a diving Keaton Woodliff in left-center field in the fourth.
Franklin finished a 17-22 campaign.