By KYLE OCKER
CHARITON — It may not have been the prettiest game of the season for the Centerville Big Reds. But as head coach Bill Huisman said, his team powered through just enough to pick up the conference-clinching victory.
“This is the kind of stuff that if you don’t do right in big games, it’s going to cost you,” Huisman said. “But in the end, we got just enough done to take care of it.”
After the Big Reds came from behind with a six-run third inning to win game one 7-1, they used some extra inning run manufacturing to break a 2-2 tie. The Big Reds, led by starting pitcher Kolton Gonnerman, ending up retiring the side in the bottom of the eighth to take a 3-2 win.
That win clinched the Big Reds’ first conference title since 2008 and continued the Big Reds’ run to a perfect conference season with a 15-0 record in the South Central Conference.
“These guys have done this all year,” Huisman said. “They just keep coming back. We’ve pulled a lot of last inning games out and you’ve got to give them credit for that, they never give up.”
With the conference clinched, Huisman and his Big Reds will not be laying down any time soon. They’re looking at becoming only the second team in school history to go undefeated in conference play. The last team to do it was the 1990 squad.
“We’ve thrown a bone to ‘em [to keep team motivated],” Huisman said. “We’ve only had one conference team go undefeated and that was back in 1990. That was a great group there, so these guys have a chance for that.”
Centerville (21-7, 15-0 in SCC) will host the Clarke Indians on Monday for a makeup game. On Tuesday, they’ll travel to Davis County for a 5:30 p.m. varsity doubleheader.
Chariton (14-14, 10-8 in SCC) will host Southeast Warren on Monday before they wrap up their South Central Conference schedule with a trip to Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont on Tuesday.