High-school softball | Central Crossing 4, Pickerington Central 0: Early lead more than enough for Dorsey
By Steve Blackledge
The Columbus Dispatch Thursday May 24, 2012 5:33 AM
Teams facing Central Crossing pitcher Savannah Dorsey know from the outset that their margin of error is paper-thin.
If, by chance, Dorsey gives you an opening, you had better take advantage or face the consequences. The same holds true on defense. Often, one run serves as ample support for the Ohio University-bound senior.
Pickerington Central committed the unpardonable sin of committing an error and, coupled with a few other mental miscues, led to three first-inning runs yesterday in a Division I regional semifinal. Central Crossing cashed in with a 4-0 shutout at Ohio State’s Buckeye Field, storming into the title game for the second straight year.
“Whenever you strike so early, it completely shifts the momentum and gives the team ahead a big advantage,” Central Crossing coach Rona Dorsey said. “Especially when you’ve got a pitcher like Savvy Jo going for you.”
Dorsey’s daughter allowed just two hits and struck out 10. Given the early security blanket, Dorsey (25-2) struck out the first five Tigers, who barely mustered so much as a foul ball.
“Usually, I come out with a bunch of butterflies, but when you take the mound with no pressure and the mindset that you can just let your defense make plays, it’s a big comfort,” Savannah Dorsey said. “We got a lot of energy and just built on it.”
Paige Rhodes singled with one out to open the first inning. Dorsey walked. Jackie Fowler then hit a grounder to Tigers pitcher Lindsey Inkrott, who threw to third hoping for a force out. Hunter Brancifort mishandled the ball, but Rhodes might have been safe anyway.
Abby Rhodes then grounded to shortstop Hannah Dittoe, who thought about throwing to the plate then bounced her throw to first. Paige Rhodes scored, but Pickerington Central first baseman Allie Luther threw out Courtesy runner Kristen Merz at home.
Then, Ciera Williams doubled to the right-center field gap, bringing home two runs.
“I’ve been working a lot on hitting the change-up,” Williams said. “In that situation, I looked at her and thought it would be either a change-up or an outside pitch. I guessed right and really got it good.”
Pickerington Central (25-6) mustered few chances the rest of the game. The Tigers got two on in the fourth, but Dorsey pitched out of the jam.
The Comets (26-3), who will face the winner of today’s Grove City-North Canton Hoover game at Buckeye Field, added a run in the fifth. Dorsey singled to right field and raced to third on an error by right fielder Lisa Cordova. Fowler followed with an RBI double to make it 4-0.
Pickerington Central coach Carrie Eneix said the shaky first inning was exactly what her team hoped to avoid.
“We gave them an extra out and it led to a lot,” she said. “We knew it would be a tough road to begin with, but we hoped to keep it close and maybe get something the second or third time through the order.
“Dorsey obviously is a phenomenal pitcher … one of the most dominant pitchers in Ohio. The best thing about her is she doesn’t have patterns. She’s hard to figure out.”