Any worries about a letdown by the Natchitoches Central softball team, coming off a 6-1 whacking of No. 1 Pineville in the regular season finale, were quickly put to rest Monday afternoon.
A five-run first inning put the Lady Chiefs in charge in their first-round Class 5A playoff game at home against Sulphur. NCHS was up 7-0 after two innings and cruised home with an 8-1 victory, advancing the winners to a second-round game later this week, probably at Moss Bluff against Sam Houston.
Any late arrivals to the NCHS campus got to-the-point updates on how the Lady Chiefs jumped on top: “Maddie Robinson hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and a two-run homer in the second,” was the gist of it.
That, and her performance in the circle, ensured the ninth-seeded Lady Chiefs (21-9) weren’t going on spring break.
Robinson pitched a three-hitter, striking out seven, allowing only a sixth-inning home run.
“We came out and played fairly well. Maddie got us going right away” said NCHS coach Ronnie Abels. “I was a little worried about us being out of school, not being in a routine, but the kids came ready to play.”
While Robinson’s sensational day was undeniable, she was not a one-girl team.
“We’re not just depending on the top of the order, or the middle, either. One through nine, these kids are getting it done. This wasn’t our best game but it did the job,” Abels said. “What I really want for them is to get to Sulphur, and that means getting to the semifinals. This bunch has been very focused and they’ve worked hard.
“We’ve got a chance. We’ve got our wagon loaded, to get where we want to get. It’s not going to be easy by any stretch, but we’ve got a chance,” he said.
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