The Mustang baseball team has seen its ups and downs this season. The team has hovered around the .500 mark with its overall record from day one of the season and saw some late season struggles take that record below the .500 mark.
Keeping track of game records goes out the window when the post-season tournament rolls around. At this point the Mustangs are now 3-0 in the Class 2A District 12 tournament and are the district champions following a 5-4 win over Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont on July 17.
The Mustangs played in the Class 2A Substate 6 game Tuesday night in Washington. Davis County played Mid-Prairie in that game for the chance to earn a berth in the Iowa State Baseball Tournament, which starts Friday.
The Mustangs earned that district championship with a come-from-behind victory over the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (EBF) Rockets. The Mustangs were 1-2 against EBF this season. They scored a 2-1 win early but dropped a doubleheader by the scores of 6-1 and 10-0 on July 1.
Last weekend’s 5-4 win was the most important one of the season for Davis County. It kept the Mustangs’ 2021 season alive.
Davis County was down 4-3 heading into the seventh inning of last Saturday nights’ game. Davis County needed to score or its season was finished.
Mustang junior Dalton Reeves sparked Davis County’s rally in the seventh with a single down the left field line. Noah Zmolek followed with an infield single and Carson Maeder beat out a sacrifice bunt attempt for a base hit. EBF’s inability to execute routine defensive plays on the infield helped Davis County load the bases with no outs.
Reeves and Zmolek both advanced on a sacrifice fly ball hit by Easton White. That ball was hit to deep right field allowing Reeves to score. That tied the game at 4-4. Zmolek was later thrown out trying to score in the inning. Maeder scored the winning run later in the inning when Gavin McCall’s RBI single to the right field corner gave Maeder the time to make it around the bases and score.
With the lead, Davis County just needed three outs to secure the district title and the chance to advance in the tournament series. The Mustangs were riding the pitching arm of Carson Maeder at this point. He came on in relief of Zmolek who started the game and went into the fourth inning before being taken off the mound.
Maeder gave up a leadoff walk to start EBF’s half of the seventh. He struck out Reily Flaig. Zach Leonard popped up to Zmolek at second base for the second out of the inning. Ethan Davis reached on an error but Zmolek and Reeves executed a ground out on the next play to end the inning and preserve the 5-4 Davis County win.
The Mustangs took the lead in the top half of the first inning when Caedyn Glosser reached on a ground ball hit to third base. Dawson Townsend singled earlier in the inning but was forced out at second on the play. Reeves doubled to deep right giving Glosser the chance to score. Reeves later scored on an RBI single from Zmolek. Davis County led 2-0.
The Mustangs held that 2-0 lead until the bottom of the second when EBF’s Flaig secured a leadoff walk. A balk and a couple of costly errors allowed Flaig to score.
The Mustangs added to their lead in the third when Reeves walked. Zmolek reached on an error and Easton White’s RBI single to right brought Reeves around to score.
Zmolek gave up a leadoff single to EBF’s Blair Francis in the bottom of the third. Zmolek helped himself on the next play by starting a 1-3-6 double play. Reeves and Glosser helped complete the play. The Rockets ended up loading the bases with two outs before Zmolek struck out Flaig to end the inning.
EBF rallied in the fourth and fifth innings to take control of the game. Davis reached on an error and later scored on an RBI single in the fourth inning. Cody Noble and Flaig both secured walks from the Mustangs in the fifth to get that rally started. Leonard’s RBI single and a sacrifice fly hit by Davis accounted for those two runs, which put the Rockets up 4-3.
Davis County couldn’t get much going in the fourth and fifth innings. Townsend singled in the fourth with two outs. Glosser and Reeves both secured walks to load the bases but Zmolek’s hard-hit fly ball to center was caught. The inning ended with all three runners being stranded.
EBF retired six of the next seven Davis County batters in order. Presley Cantrell’s hit to left field generated the only base runner in those two innings.
The Mustangs held off the Rockets in the bottom half of the sixth despite a two out double. The Rockets' Jared McCrea hit that double. He advanced to third on a balk but was later picked off by Maeder who handled the defensive play and secured the out himself after chasing McCrea down on the basepaths.
Maeder and the Mustangs went on to rally in the seventh to get the win and send the team into the Class 2A Substate 6 game.
Score R H E
DC 201 000 2 5 10 4
EBF 010 120 0 4 5 5
Pitching—Maeder, W, 3.1 innings, 2 runs 2 hits, 2 strikeouts and 3 walks. Zmolek, 3.2 innings, 2 runs, 3 hits, 6 strikeouts and 4 walks.
Hits—Townsend, 2; Zmolek, 2; Reeves, 2; Cantrell, 1; Maeder, 1; McCall, 1 and White, 1.
RBI—White, 2; Zmolek, 1; McCall, 1 and Reeves, 1.