CENTERVILLE — A close game faded in the fifth inning, as the Centerville Big Reds found timely hits and walks to defeat the Davis County Mustangs Monday.

In the season opener delayed a nearly month by the coronavirus pandemic, Centerville overcame a sluggish start to win 16-6 in five innings.

The Big Reds, ranked third by the Iowa Baseball Coaches Association coming into the season, are eyeing their fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament.

The Big Reds brought 10 runs across in the fifth inning on two errors, three singles, a double and five consecutive walks.

The Mustangs galloped to an early 3-0 lead in the first. After Centerville’s Brady Kauzlarich dealt two quick strikeouts, an error bookended by two singles from Davis County’s Noah Zmolek and Gavin McCall gave the team early life.

Zmolek, Dalton Reeves and McCall would all come around to score before Centerville was able to get out of the inning.

The Big Reds would later put up five runs in the bottom of the second on two walks, two errors and two singles.

Centerville (1-0, 1-0 SCC) will travel to Clarke on Friday.

Things got no easier for Davis County on Tuesday, hosting Central Lee in a rematch of last year’s Class 2A district championship game won 6-4 by the Hawks on the way to qualifying for the state baseball tournament. The Mustangs could not record a hit in five innings, committing five errors in a 14-0 loss in the home opener for Todd White’s squad.

Davis County is back on the diamond at the Fairgrounds in Bloomfield on Friday. The Mustangs (0-2, 0-1 SCC) host Albia in conference action.

Kyle Ocker is the group editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the first vice president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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