WASHINGTON – The South Central Conference went through an entire decade at one point with at least one team qualifying for the state baseball tournament every year.
The start of a new streak may begin with two SCC rivals clashing in the Class 2A state baseball tournament in 2021. Both Centerville and Davis County punched their tickets on Tuesday night by winning substate championships with the Big Reds dominating from start to finish in a 12-1 victory over upset-minded Pleasantville while the magical Mustangs from Bloomfield knocked off fourth-ranked Mid-Prairie, 7-4, to claim the Substate 6 crown.
Centerville will return to state for the fourth time in five years, marking the fourth state tournament appearances for a senior class that includes Merrick Mathews, Brady Kauzlarich, Otis Williams, Myles Clawson, Kellen Johnson, Hunter Gottman, Mason Bauman and Korey Shondel.
The Big Reds responded after a home run from the first batter of the game, scoring five times in the bottom of the first against Pleasantville (17-19) in the Substate 7 title contest. Seven more runs in the fourth helped Centerville (19-14) clinch the trip to state in just five innings at Indianola High School.
Davis County, meanwhile, took advantage of a wild start on the mound by Mid-Prairie senior Aidan Rath, who delivered walks to the first two batters and allowed Clay Collier to score the first run of the game on three wild pitchers. Noah Zmolek added a two-out RBI single to left, scoring Dawson Townsend, giving the Mustangs a 2-0 lead.
Justin Matheney went the distance on the mound for the second time in this postseason, striking out three while allowing six hits and three walks, all intentional, to Rath. Davis County saw a 5-1 lead trimmed down to 5-4 after four before Carson Maeder turned the game around in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch standing up at home plate knocking the ball away from Mid-Prairie catcher Vinnie Bowlin on the attempted tag. Officials ruled Maeder to be safe, deeming that the Davis County junior did not initiate the contact with Bowlin that caused the ball to come out.
Both Davis County (15-18) and Centerville will await their assignments for the Class 2A state baseball quarterfinals. Both teams will play next Tuesday at Merchants Park in Carroll.