Big Reds win at Moravia (2-4 column photo)

Centerville baseball players congratulate teammate Walker White (4) after White’s sixth-inning grand slam hit over the fence at Fenton Field in Moravia on Saturday to help the third-ranked (3A) Big Reds secure a 14-5 road win over the Mohawks.

MORAVIA — Walker White’s sixth-inning grand slam sealed a historic win for the Big Reds on Saturday at Fenton Field. The win over the Mohawks was the first against former long-time head coach Bill Huisman, who is currently in his second season as head baseball coach at Moravia after coaching 38 seasons at Centerville.

Brady Kauzlarich reached base four times, scoring from second base on the first of two RBI groundouts by Kayden Kauzlarich in the first inning. Brady Kauzlarich added a run-scoring double in the second, following RBI singles from teammates Myles Clawson and Kade Mosley to give the Big Reds a 5-0 lead after just two innings.

“Brady is one of those guys that is full steam ahead no matter what and tries to use his speed to his advantage,” Centerville head baseball coach Ryan Hodges said. “It’s been rough over the past week trying to get into a rhythm, but I told the guys it’s time to start getting back to doing what made us so successful. It started with batting practice in the morning and carried over to the game.”

Centerville slipped on Monday from third to eighth in the latest Iowa High School Baseball statewide 3A rankings. After not playing for eight days due to weather, Centerville took the diamond five times in five days all away from home starting with a 13-12 win at Pella last Tuesday in which the Big Reds rallied from a 10-run deficit.

Centerville also made trips to Lamoni Wednesday for a 7-3 non-conference win before losing for the first time this season, 5-0, at Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont on Thursday. The Big Reds nearly lost a second straight South Central Conference game on Friday, losing an 8-0 lead at Clarke before a two-out throwing error by the Indians in the seventh allowed Centerville to avoid a 10-9 loss. Weather would halt the game in the top of the seventh with Centerville leading 11-10.

“We’ve been on the road so much. People think it’s not a grind, but getting on the bus and going all the way to Clarke for a nearly three-hour game without a final outcome wears on you,” Hodges said. “We had them down, let them sneak back into it and pull ahead late. That’s the thing about baseball. We play at Pella and we come from way behind, then the baseball gods kind of struck back on Friday and gave us a little dose of what it feels like to be on the other end of a big comeback.”

Cason Butz had a pair of doubles for Moravia, scoring a sixth-inning run for the Mohawks. Bryce Kaster added a two-out, two-run single in the fifth, cutting Centerville’s 8-0 lead down to 8-3.

“We’ve played some really strong teams lately,” Huisman said of the Mohawks. “We’re at a point now where, if we can keep our heads up and keep pressing forward, we can make a run at a winning record and get ourselves ready for the postseason. That’s the goal I’m working on right now.”

Centerville (4-1) heads to Fairfield while Moravia (3-6) returns to Bluegrass Conference play on Tuesday against Murray.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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