BELLA – It’s a battle between two respected baseball conferences when Centerville’s Big Red of the South Central Conference visits Bella Dutch of the Little Hockey Conference on Wednesday night. Although the game was incomplete, it had all the drama and intensity of a high-level competitive game.
The Dutch took three second place spots on the board and the Big Red took three third place spots. It was duck’s eggs on the board until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Bella hit a walk-off run to beat W.
Bella’s Joe Bockhoven led off the eighth inning with a sharp single through the middle and Caleb Stewart beat an infield triple. A bunt-single by the winning pitcher, Kellan Shull, blocked the basepaths with no outs. Starting pitcher Jack Howard ripped a shot off the left center fence for the winner. He never gets past first base when he is harassed by a group of cheerful Dutchmen.
In the second innings, the Netherlands got three runs without scoring. With one out, Caleb Stewart reached on an error and Shull was knocked out by a pitch. After a pop-up for the second out, Samuel Carlson drew a base on balls to fill the sack. Layton Betharts flied out down the right field line that disappeared into the evening twilight. The ball bounced between three fielders, and while the baserunners were moving, all three scored.
The Big Reds answered without scoring three runs to tie the score. Sylar Esaias reached on an error. Then came a terrifying moment in the game. With two outs, Sabin Isaiah was handcuffed by a pitch and went down bloody. Trainers rushed to his rescue and Isaiah had to leave the game with injuries to his nose and eye socket.
Bella pitcher Howard was shaken by the turn of events and struggled to get out of the inning. He allowed a two-run single to Centerville’s Brandon Shinn and a basesloaded walk to Ryan Sinnott to tie the score.
After the third inning, both teams regained their mo-jo and the game settled down much to the delight of baseball fans. Better pitching and big plays from both teams kept points off the board and required extra innings.
The field was excellent for both teams. Howard started for the Dutch and was in control until the third inning. Shull registered the win with four shut-out innings. Centerville’s Brady Tuttle was spectacular, allowing one run, two walks and fanning out six batters in eight innings.
“Brady was great tonight,” said Big Red coach Nick Belloma. “We have not been good, we played badly against Sidel last night. Our message to the children is that we will fight. Brady took that message to heart and he led us in a super competitive effort tonight. Our team fueled that competitive drive. Our sophomore catcher Sully Palanger took over when Sabin went down and I must add he did a great job.
Not only did Shull take the win in relief, but he led the Dutch offense with two hits each along with designated hitter Joe Bogoven and Isaiah Kettler hit a 2-for triple in the seventh, but stranded in the third.
“It was a fun game,” said Bella coach Jesse Jablonski. “It wasn’t perfect, but the atmosphere was good. We struggled a little aggressively, but the field was good. Schull was great in his first night on the mound. We gave away too many free bases and we have to clean that up.” “We still have a long way to go. We are very young. Children learn their roles. We want to get better with every piece.”
The Dutch will return to action on Thursday when Red Rock receives Knoxville in a rivalry game. The Big Reds are off until Monday when they host the Albia Blue Demons in a Highway 5 showdown.
Centerville 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 3
Bella 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 9 3
Centerville Battery – Brady Tuttle (LB) 7 IP, 9 H, 4 R 1 ER, 2 PP, 6 K and Sabin Isaiah, Sully Palanger (3).
Centerville Hitting – Connor Lancaster 2-for-4, Brandon Shinn 1-for-3, Ryan Sinnott 1-for-2.
Centerville walks – Sylar Isaiah 1, Landon McCran 1, Tuttle 1
Centerville RBI — Shinn 2, Sinnott 1.
Bella Battery – Jack Howard – 4 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K – Kellan Shull (WP) 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K and Anderson Schirm.
Bella Hitting – Schirm 1-for-4, Isaiah Kettler 1-for-4, Joe Pocowan 2-for-4, Caleb Stewart 1-for-4, Shull 2-for-3, Howard 1-for-3, Leighton Betharts 1-on-3
Bella walks – Pogowan 1, Stewart 1, Shull 1, Samuel Carlson 1.
Bella RBI – Betharts 3, Howard 1.