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Spartans turn back West

Central Davidson's Erin Laws slides safely to steal second base as she beats the throw to West Davidson shortstop Diamond Suber (right) during their game Tuesday. West second baseman Lauren Wilson (left) backs up the throw. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

You don’t often expect your pitcher to be the anchor of your defense — well, unless she’s striking out everybody.

But Central Davidson pitcher Kylie Ward flawlessly fielded eight chances and almost single-handedly stymied West Davidson 8-0 in Central Carolina Conference action Tuesday evening.

Oh, yeah. She also hurled a two-hitter while striking out six batters — which meant she had a hand in 14 of West’s 21 outs.

“Kylie’s doing a really great job,” said Central coach Jordan Stogner, whose team is now 4-0 in the CCC, 6-6 overall. “She really hit her spots tonight. That’s something we’ve talked about with her. If she hits her spots and we get defense behind her, we’ll be fine.”

West coach Nick Slate, meanwhile, felt his team came out a little off its game.

“We came out flat and not ready to swing the bat,” said Slate, whose team is now 3-2 in the league, 5-6 overall. “It took until the third or fourth inning before we really took the bat off our shoulders.

“We made contact,” said Slate. “But we hit it right at ‘em.”

Ward took command of the game right from the first inning. West’s Diamond Suber hit a line shot back to the pitching circle, but Ward calmly fielded the hot potato for what turned out to be an easy out — and set the tone of the game.

“Diamond hit a laser right back at her. In fact, Diamond hit it back at her twice and she (Ward) played the glove good,” said Slate. “And she threw the ball good. She kept it down on us and we didn’t adjust to that.”

The Spartans scored a run in the first inning when Erin Laws — who ended up going 4-for-4 with three stolen bases and three runs scored — led off with a single. She stole second base and then took third on a passed ball, and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Brown.

But in the second inning, the Spartans erupted for three runs, thanks in part by a two-run single from Brown.

Central scored two more runs in the fourth and two more in the sixth to put the game away. In all, Central collected 11 hits and took advantage of four Dragons errors.

“Our hitting is what has been lacking a little bit lately,” said Stogner. “But today we brought our bats out. I’m really glad to see that. We’ve got four games this week, so we’ve got to do a much better job at the plate. And tonight, we did.”

Notes: In addition to Laws, Central’s McKenzie Burkhart went 2-for-3 and Ward went 2-for-4 … Central Davidson entertains Southeast Guilford on Wednesday, then welcomes Thomasville on Friday and travels to Alexander Central to play North Iredell on Saturday … West Davidson plays two teams Wednesday, welcoming Trinity at 4:30 p.m. and then hosting South Davidson at 7 p.m.