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Comer, Spartans shut down Salisbury

Central Davidson’s Mackenzie Comer pitches against Salisbury on Friday. In the background is first baseman Jack Byrd. (Photo by Mike Duprez/The Dispatch)

Salisbury may not be the same old Salisbury anymore but Central Davidson still looks like the same old Central Davidson.

Mackenzie Comer fired a four-hitter and Kylie Ward went 3-for-4 with three RBIs as the Spartans opened defense of their Central Carolina Conference championship with a 10-0 win in six innings on Friday at Central.

The Spartans (2-1) have won the last three CCC titles and seven of the last eight.

Comer, a junior right-hander, was in command all the way, striking out six and walking none. Comer (2-0) retired the first nine batters she faced and Salisbury did not get a runner past second base.

“Just trying to get my speed where I think it’s my game,” Comer said. ‘I know what I want to do with it. I pitch with my heart, I guess.”

It was just the type of performance the coaching staff was looking for as Central moves forward.

“She did a great job,” said Central assistant coach Mike Pickett, running the team in head coach Jordan Stogner’s absence. “I kept telling her to keep doing what she was doing.”

Salisbury (1-1) put up a lot more fight than the Hornet teams of recent years. The Hornets were just 3-13 last year and 2-8 in the CCC, beating only last place Lexington. Games between Central and Salisbury were typically three-inning, 15-run rule  deals. But this one seemed like a real game.

And was noticed.

“Our girls, they worked hard,” Pickett said. “They realize Salisbury’s a different team. That pitcher of theirs is a freshman and she’s going to be around for a while. They’re coming around. They’re coming on.”

Central only led 1-0 after three, getting a run in the second when McKenzie Burkhart was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Ward’s single. Salisbury pitcher Caroline Forbis even worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third.

The Hornets finally cracked with five errors — three on dropped fly balls and two dropped throws — along with five walks, two wild pitches and a passed ball. Pickett had the Spartans play aggressively with all the runners. They were able to steal at will and even slugging first baseman Jack Byrd bunted.

“That’s why we decided to go with the small ball,” Pickett said. “Our timing was off. We couldn’t get hits at the right time.”

Central scored two runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings. The Spartans added five more runs in the bottom of the sixth, making just one out. Jordan Leonard’s two-run, line-drive single brought home the final two runs and triggered the 10-run mercy rule.

The Spartans visit Thomasville on Tuesday.

Mike Duprez can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 218 or