The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

July 5, 2013

Rockets split against Big Reds

EDDYVILLE — The Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Rockets still need some help, but they gave themselves a chance to win or tie for the South Central Conference baseball championship by splitting with Centerville Wednesday night in Eddyville. Kolton Gonnerman’s three-hit shutout gave the Big Reds a 6-0 win in the opener, then Trevor Swartz threw a three-hitter to help the Rockets take the nightcap 11-1.

The Rockets will need Albia to knock off Chariton once for a tie or twice for the outright championship.

Gonnerman allowed a single to Christian Bambrook in the Rocket first and didn’t allow another hit until the fourth. The game was scoreless through two but the Big Reds took a 2-0 lead in the third. Gonnerman and Levi Sebolt led off with back-to-back singles.

The two baserunners then pulled off a successful double steal. The Rockets committed two throwing errors on the play and both runners scored.

“We really haven’t had too many times where we have defensive breakdowns like that,” said EBF coach Rod Ashman. “It did give them some early momentum though.”

The game remained 2-0 through the fifth, where Centerville executed another of those fundamental plays that affect the outcome of a game. They caught a Rocket runner off first and the successful run down started the 1-2-3 inning. Gonnerman finished off the fifth with two strikeouts.

“We spend a lot of time working on special fundamental situations that we might need,” said Centerville coach Bill Huisman. “For the most part, we have done a good job with sac bunts, the double steal, and the run down play.”

Michael Firkins had his second hit for the Big Reds in the sixth, but Centerville stranded two runners in the inning.

“My hitting is starting to come around,” said Firkins.

Centerville put the game away with a four-run seventh. Hunter Cowan’s second hit led off the inning. Two batters later, Gonnerman hit his second two-run homer in as many nights with a shot to right-center field.

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