Games like this give you a lot of perspective. The top-ranked Class 4A Dragons from Johnston came into town to face No. 7 (3A) Centerville and would pick up a dominating 13-1 win in five innings.
Centerville was celebrating senior night and honoring their lone senior, Kaleb Cochran. On the other side, the Johnston dugout was filled up and down the line with juniors and seniors while they started one sophomore.
“There is a reason Johnston is number one in 4A, they have a routine and stick to it. We can learn a lot from them moving forward. Although it was a big margin loss, we won't play a better, more disciplined team the rest of the season,” Centerville head coach Ryan Hodges said.
Johnston didn’t waste anytime attacking at the plate. Centerville’s Merrick Mathews’ first three pitches all went for base hits for the Dragons. They would eventually get all three of those runners to score to Johnston ahead 3-0.
Mathews would get into more trouble in the second inning as Johnston would bat around and go for seven more runs to increase their lead to 10-0. Johnston’s big lefty Peyton Williams, whose committed to play baseball at Iowa next year, got into one and blasted it out to right field for his 13th home run this season, tying for the state lead.
If you believe in moral victories, the Big Reds got one in the bottom of the second as Walker White would rip one over the heads of a shallow-playing Johnston outfield for a RBI double as he was thrown out trying to stretch it out into a triple.
The run was the first earned run allowed this year by Johnston pitcher Nick Crandell, who hadn't allowed an earned run in 17 2/3 innings coming into the contest.
That would end up being Centerville’s only run of the game and their last hit of the game.
Johnston added one run in the third and another two in the fourth to activate the run rule to end the game after five innings.
Mathews took the loss after giving up 10 runs, six earned, on 10 hits with one walk and one strikeout in two innings. He would exit the game in the bottom of the second inning after landing awkwardly on first base trying to beat out an infield single.
Brady Kauzlarich would replace him on the mound and would give up three runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in three innings pitched.
It was Centerville’s first double-digit loss this season and first since losing 11-0 to Fairfield on June 26 last year. The Big Reds then went on to win 11 of their next 13 games to win the 2A State Championship.
“We got better because of this game, may not seem like it now but it will in the future,” Hodges said. “We want to win, but we want to improve more than anything, learn from every game. I know I got better as a coach, which is more important to me than my win/loss record. We will bounce back against three more quality teams.”
No. 7 Centerville (20-4) will try to rebound on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Ottumwa (19-11).