Centennial ace Kim May hadn't pitched in more than a week heading into yesterday's doubleheader at the Centennial Spring Tournament.
And throughout her first game back from spring break -- a 13-7 victory over Mount de Sales -- the rust was in great evidence.
But when it came time to face the fifth-ranked Institute of Notre Dame for the championship, it didn't take the windmiller long to return to form.
After a shaky start, May seemed to get stronger throughout the )) game, giving up two hits over the final six innings and striking out six of 10 hitters during one mid-game stretch to lift the No. 4 Eagles to a 7-1 win.
"In the first game I just wasn't that strong, and I thought, 'Oh gosh, I have to pitch seven more innings,' " said May (11-1), who after entering the day with a 0.37 ERA allowed six runs in the final four innings against the winless Sailors.
"I didn't think I'd be that strong by the end, but the first game actually got me warmed up. I came out strong in this one."
She used an assortment of fastballs, with an occasional changeup mixed in, to keep the Indians off balance, and helped her own cause with two hits and five assists in the field.
For IND (9-2), which had scored a 5-1 win over defending Class 2A state champion Damascus in its opener, the poor showing in the nightcap came as a bit of a surprise.
"I think we were just down for some odd reason. I don't know why," said Indians coach Sandy Altadonna. "We were doing everything right in the first game and then we just stopped hitting the ball."
IND scored its run in the first inning when Kristan Ehrman's double into the gap in right-center scored Robin Johnson to make it 1-0.
Centennial (11-1) took command with three runs in the first and one in the second, then put the game out of reach with three more in the sixth.
Terri Bickerton, Jodi Godbout, May and Michelle Dugan each had two hits, as the top third of the lineup reached base seven out of 12 times.
"What you saw in the first game was what happens when you haven't played any softball for eight days," said Centennial coach Dale Huting. "That's what today was about -- just getting back into the swing of things.
"It was nice playing so well against IND because they're a good team."
Earlier in the day, the Indians showed just how good.
Amy Cippoloni pitched a five-hitter and Kelly Pryce went 2-for-3 with a double as IND knocked off powerful Damascus of Montgomery County.
"I had heard they were a pretty good team, but I didn't realize they were state champions," Altadonna said. "I'm really excited about winning it."
Damascus beat Mount de Sales in the consolation, 14-2, on Becca Hofman's three-hitter.
* Mount St. Joseph 8, Bishop Ford (N.Y.) 5: Reliever Ted Martin (2-0) pitched five innings, gave up four hits and one run and struck out five as No. 6 Mount St. Joseph (15-2) won the Riverdale Baptist Invitational. Martin was named Tournament MVP.