Centennial snaps out of slumber

Centennial’s softball team won’t be going out of its way to remember its first four games in the Spring Jamboree at Majestic Park.

The Bulldogs, outscored 37-10 in their four pool-play games, took out their frustrations in the opening round of bracket play Friday.

Bailie Nelson, Heather Bowen and Alyssa Finger homered and Katelynn Rauskin pitched a three-hitter as the Bulldogs pounded San Fernando (Calif.), 11-0 in five innings.

“It feels good to finally get one in the win column,” coach Mike Livreri said. “It was big for our confidence.”

Coming into the tournament, Centennial (15-8) hadn’t lost consecutive games all season. But the Bulldogs were shut out in losses to San Benito (Calif.) and Edison (Calif.) on Thursday, were dominated by El Camino Real (Calif.) early Friday and looked lost in a 13-8 defeat to Pleasant Grove (Utah) in the pool-play finale.

None of that showed against San Fernando. The Bulldogs backed Rauskin with flawless defense, including a perfect throw from Finger in left field to cut down a runner at third base to end the fourth inning.

Rauskin struck out five and walked four. She didn’t allow a runner to reach third base.

“She pitched a nice game,” Livreri said. “When she’s consistent, she’s hitting the strike zone and getting balls put in play. When she’s on, she’s on.”

Centennial’s usually potent bats awoke from their tournament slumber, as well, with the Bulldogs swinging early in counts.

Nelson’s three-run homer to left-center field ignited a five-run second inning that gave Centennial a 6-0 lead.

Bowen belted a two-run homer down the line in left later in the inning, and Finger hit the first pitch of the third over the fence in center field. Centennial’s first 14 batters saw a total of 22 pitches but gave the team a 7-0 lead.

“We were a little more aggressive at the plate,” Livreri said. “We jumped on them early. We were telling them that if the first pitch was good, we were going after it. We were attacking.”

The Bulldogs carried an 8-0 lead into the fifth and put the finishing touches on the game with consecutive two-out RBI doubles by Savannah Horvath, Bowen and Taylor Huntly.

Bowen finished 3-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs for Centennial, which faces Northwest League rival Palo Verde in a winners’ bracket quarterfinal this morning.

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5230.

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