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Thomas, Hinz power Central over Laramie

Apr. 22—LARAMIE — Cheyenne Central scored in bunches against Laramie on Monday at the Sandy Aragon Softball Complex in Laramie.

The Indians took the conference portion of the doubleheader 13-3 on the strength of three Izzy Thomas home runs and Katie Hinz's 12 strikeouts. Central's hot bats continued through the second game, winning 14-9.

"We've been working on our two-strike approach a ton," Indians coach Carrie Barker said. "Our team did so much better with that (Monday) and we came out ready to hit. One through nine, everyone was ready."

In Game 1, Thomas' first blow was a one-out solo home run in the first inning. After the game, Thomas mentioned the team feeling determined to get on track after a rough start to the season.

"For some reason, this game (against Laramie) always gets me riled up," Thomas said. "It's always high stakes. We'd never lost to them before earlier this season. I was rolling over and got upset with myself.

"This time, I was going to leave it all out there for my team."

That determination could be seen through the play of Hinz, who struck out the side allowing one hit to LHS' Emilee Sirdoreus in the bottom half of the frame. The Plainsmen took advantage of a leadoff walk from Rachel Dean in the second and tied the game.

"Our approach against Central didn't change much," LHS coach Luke Andrews said. "We just didn't execute as well as we needed to."

Paige Kuhn sacrifice bunted Dean into scoring position before a two-out single from Carson Milam drove the run in. However, Thomas wouldn't allow the game to remain tied for long.

She followed up a leadoff walk to Izzy Kelly with her second round-tripper of the game. The Plainsmen's Hailey Loya and Marisol Gomez collected a pair of singles, but Hinz retired the next three batters for a shutdown inning.

"We know that they (Central) like to pitch outside," Gomez said. "We hit outside pitches in practice. I don't know what it is about Katie (Hinz) where we don't know how to hit it in the game.

"There were a bit of nerves coming into a conference game, and I think that was the difference in us playing them the first time versus now."

Central broke the game open in the fourth, taking a 6-1 lead. The damage was done after Maya Driver and Hinz singled to start the inning, and Thomas slugged her third home run of the game one out later.

"I've had maybe one other multi-home run game in high school," Thomas said. "I've struggled with pitch selection this year, and haven't been the hitter I can be. I'm focusing on seeing pitches.

"So, not trying to get out early and getting into a lot of deep counts has helped. When I get into late counts, I honestly feel more comfortable. I am hunting my pitch."

The game reached run-rule territory in the sixth inning after the Indians posted seven runs. The first six batters in the frame reached base, recording four hits and three walks in the process.

"For the first five innings, the home runs from Thomas hurt us," Andrews said. "Paige didn't quite hit her spots. (Thomas) is very talented and was able to take advantage of that."

The Plainsmen were able to scratch two runs back in the bottom of the inning courtesy of a two-out double from Brooklyn McKinney scoring Sirdoreus and Kuhn. The game concluded after three outs, as Laramie needed three runs to keep the game alive.

"We're going to have to use a little bit of our frustration," Andrews said. "We have to use it to our advantage. We don't like when we lose that way and have to use emotion to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Hinz completed the game allowing seven hits and walking one. Thomas had six RBI at the plate.

Kuhn started in the circle for the Plainsmen, spanning four innings allowing six earned runs on nine hits while striking out four and walking two. She was relieved by Amanda Kricken, who tossed the final two innings allowing seven earned runs on five hits while striking out one and walking three.

"We have a lot of fight in us," Gomez said. "Getting run-ruled isn't ideal. We're going to come into the second game a lot harder."

In Game 2, the Indians started Tayvin Aragon in the circle. She lasted all five innings, allowing three earned runs on 13 hits while striking out one and walking two.

Central's four errors allowed six unearned runs to cross. Laramie started Calli Cass in the circle, who tossed two innings before being relieved by Abby Sanchez and Delanie Suloff for the remaining three innings.

The Plainsmen outhit the Indians 13-10, but nine walks from their pitching staff hurt. Laramie walked nine batters compared to Central's two.

Kuhn paced the Plainsmen with three hits while Sirdoreus drove in four. As a team, Laramie struck out just once.

"(McKinney and Sirdoreus) are players that can beat you," Barker said. "We have to look them up and see what they dd last time. Where did they hit the ball against us? Where do we need to keep the ball away from?"

Aragon and teammate Liberty Araas had two hits each to lead the team with Araas collecting a team-high four RBI. Kelly led the game off with a triple with Hinz later adding a double accounting for the team's extra base hits.

Central (8-11 overall, 3-6 Class 4A East conference) hosts Cheyenne East (14-3, 5-2) for a pair of games on Friday at 3 and 5 p.m.

Laramie (5-8, 1-4) hosts East on Tuesday at 4 and 6 p.m. inside the Sandy Aragon Softball Complex.

Austin Edmonds covers Laramie High, University of Wyoming and community athletics for WyoSports. He can be reached at aedmonds@wyosports.net. Follow him on X at @_austinedmonds.