Prep Watch • With Inglesby back on mound, Central's in place for playoffs
by: KATIE HARTLEY, Returning after a stress fracture, Central Catholic’s Kaitlin Inglesby had 41 strikeouts in three games last week.

With their top softball pitcher back in top form, the Central Catholic Rams are on the way back up.

The Rams entered the week with a seven-game winning streak and a shot at no worse than second place in the Mount Hood Conference.

Sophomore Kaitlin Inglesby, who helped Central place second in Class 6A last year, recently returned from a stress fracture and is shutting down opponents again. She had 41 strikeouts and three shutouts in a three-game, three-day period last week.

'She's right where we thought she'd be,' Ram coach Jim Taylor says. 'She's at least 95 percent, and by the time the state playoffs start she should be right on top of her game. And I think her bat is stronger this year.'

At a lot of positions, the Rams are rebuilding and working on their offense.

Conference leader Barlow (9-0, 19-0 overall through last week) edged the Rams 5-1 in nine innings a couple of weeks ago. That was Inglesby's first game back, and she pitched only five innings. Central plays at Barlow on Friday, and the Rams also are scheduled to face Gresham at Delta Park on Wednesday in a game that could determine who gets the No. 2 state seed.

• In the PIL, the 5A softball leader got the better of the 6A leader last week. Cleveland beat Grant 1-0 in a stirring duel at Wilshire Park. Cleveland senior Carlen Washington's single up the middle scored the winning run in a battle of senior pitchers Heather Greig (Warriors) and Bailey Rueck (Generals).

Both teams are unbeaten in league and have had an easy time in almost every PIL game in their respective classifications.

'I told our kids that I'd rather play a game like that (against Cleveland) and lose 1-0 than beat up on weaker teams,' Grant coach Debbie Englestad says. 'Cleveland and us are kind of blueprints of each other. There were great plays and hits on both sides.'

'Grant's a good hitting club and has a lot of speed,' Cleveland coach Richard Breece says. 'We were very tickled to come out of it with a 'W.' It was an exciting game, with a lot of vocal fans. It boosted our kids up big time.'

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