ST. MARYS — Yielding six runs in the first two innings, Creston couldn’t overcome the rough start in a 9-1 loss to Class 1A eighth-ranked Martensdale-St. Marys Monday night.
The defending state champion Blue Devils improved to 23-8 for the season. Junior pitcher Eddy Kraber improved to 7-3 for the season, leaving with a 9-0 lead after five innings.
Brandon Phipps took the loss for Creston, relieved by eighth-grader Chase Shiltz in the second inning. Shiltz went 4 2/3 innings, yielding only two earned runs with five strikeouts and three walks.
“Chase was one of the highlights for us,” Creston coach Steve Birchard said. “The Kraber kid was throwing well, but we hit the ball pretty sharp. It wasn’t like he was mowing us down on strikeouts.
M-SM’s four-run first inning started with a hit batter, an error and a walk before the Blue Devils had any base hits.
“They’re a solid team,” Birchard said. “We seem to have a knack for getting behind good people. That puts some pressure on you, and we got a little frustrated. We got the ball up a few times against the lower part of their order. Their top six hitters had only one hit.”
Cole Crawford scored Creston’s only run in the sixth inning, on a single by Keaton Hulett, who finished with two hits. Nate Haley also had two hits.
The Panthers are home tonight against another rated team, Class 3A No. 7 Chariton, which was 27-4 going into Monday’s doubleheader against Albia. The Chargers are ranked right behind Hawkeye 10 teams Glenwood and Harlan.
Senior night activities will be held prior to tonight’s varsity contest.
Creston’s JV improved to 10-7 with an 11-2 victory.
Jon Birchard picked up the win, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and a strikeout. Nate Haley and Garret Taylor were each 2-for-2 for the Panthers, including a double by Haley.
Brody Frain, Cody Crawford, Brenden McDowell, Haley and Taylor had one RBI each for Creston, which benefitted from numerous walks and errors by the Blue Devils.
“Ever since Red Oak, we’ve been playing good baseball,” coach Kyle Wilson said.
Martensdale-St. Marys 9, Creston 1
R H E
Creston 000 001 0 — 1 6 2
Mart.-St. Marys 421 020 x — 9 8 1
Cr: Brandon Phipps 1K 2BB 1 HBP, Chase Shiltz (2) 5K 3BB and Zach Powers. MSM: Eddy Kraber, Miller Hatcher (6), Tanner Foster (7) and Luke Antcil. W — Kraber. L— Phipps. HR — MSM: Garrett Gehringer. 2B — MSM: Trent Verwers, Blake Sweet. RBI — Cr: Keaton Hulett 1; MSM: Verwers 1, Kraber 1, Dylan Gibson 1, Alex Kim 2, Gehringer 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: Hulett 2, Nate Haley 2; MSM: Kim 2, Gehringer 2.