EDDYVILLE — It has proven to be one of the toughest baseball conferences in the state to win each summer. Yet the Centerville Big Reds are intent on turning this year’s South Central Conference race into a landslide runaway.
The Big Reds maintained a perfect record in the SCC on Tuesday, sweeping the only conference opponent they haven’t played yet. Michael Starcevich and Jared Armington combined to shut out Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont over 12 innings as both Centerville pitchers tossed shutouts as the Big Reds earned a pair of wins, 8-0 and 9-0, to move to 12-0 in the SCC.
Centerville put on a clinic in how to play winning baseball in game one. It started with clutch hitting as Hunter Cowan, Treye Rinehart and Payton Kauzlarich strung together three-straight RBI hits with two outs in the second.
Protecting that early 3-0 lead was step two of Centerville’s winning formula. The Big Reds turned rally-killing double plays in three consecutive innings, keeping EBF from being able to answer at the plate.
The third double play for the Big Reds in the opener was started by Starcevich, who didn’t need much offensive help in moving Centerville to 11-0 in the SCC. Starcevich moved to 5-1 on the mound by striking out seven Rocket hitters, including three in a row early on, while allowing just three hits and a walk to EBF over seven innings.
Game two told a different story as EBF failed to match the defensive execution of the Big Reds. Four errors in the first three innings allowed Centerville to score five unearned runs. Three miscues in the third by the Rockets allowed Centerville to score four times, opening up a 5-0 lead for the second-straight game for the Big Reds.
That was plenty for Armington, who matched Starcevich by pitching shutout baseball through the first five innings of game two. The Centerville senior not only hit his first home run of the season in game one, but earned his first pitching decision in game two by allowing just three hits to the Rockets in the nightcap.