The Creston baseball team dug itself a hole it couldn’t dig out of in a 13-3 loss on senior night here Tuesday night against Class 3A No. 7 Chariton.
Creston starter Nate Haley worked out of the first inning after a leadoff single thanks to back-to-back diving catches in center field by a hard-charging Cole Crawford.
But Chariton added two runs in the second and two more in the third inning off a two-run home run off the scoreboard in left-center field by shortstop Jordan Baughman.
Creston squandered a scoring opportunity in the second inning, ending the inning with a strikeout with runners on first and third after back-to-back singles.
“We’re a good enough offensive team to stay with and score a few runs there, and the kid was doing good, but we just didn’t string them together,” Creston head coach Steve Birchard said. “That’s what happens. We had an opportunity in the second and we squandered a chance. Didn’t capitalize there. After they’ve scored four, you have to get one back and then you feel like you’re in the ballgame.”
Birchard pulled Haley in the fourth inning after he loaded the bases with no outs. Cole Crawford came in to pitch in relief, but Chariton pushed six runs across in the inning to take command, 10-0.
The game stayed that way until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Creston avoided being run-ruled by scoring three runs on a passed ball, an RBI groundout by Jon Birchard and an RBI single from Zach Powers.
“We’re still hitting the ball pretty well against decent pitching,” Birchard said. “We just need to put our hits together, keep playing defense and not get in that hole.”
Despite finishing the game with two errors, the Creston defense sparkled at times in the field.
Crawford had the two first inning diving catches, Briar Evans made a couple of nice plays at shortstop and Keaton Hulett made a leaping catch at first base.
But the defensive play of the game came in the top of the fifth inning when Crawford snared a hard liner that came right back to him, and threw to first to double up the runner.
“I thought he was hurt,” Birchard said of the play. “He got a good jump on two balls (in center field). He’s really taken some pride in being a great center fielder, and it’s really shown up. It’s a real nice trait for him. Making that snag on the mound there, he gets himself a nice double play and preserves his life. Double good.”
Chariton (30-4) tacked on three more runs over the final two innings to make the final score 13-3.
Three Panther seniors and their parents were honored in a senior night presentation prior to the game. Seniors on the team are Evans, Hulett and Powers.
“We’re not giving up,” Birchard said. “I talked about the seniors and how it’s senior night, and these guys will lead us and show us the right thing, so these young guys will follow.”
Creston, now 12-16 overall, travels to Winterset Friday and then to ADM on Monday and gets a rematch with Chariton next Tuesday before hosting the first round of district play on July 19.
The Creston JV team dropped to 10-8 for the season with a 9-4 loss to Chariton on Tuesday.
“We weren’t ready to play, and by the time we were ready to play, we were already down 7-0,” Creston JV coach Kyle Wilson said.
Cody Crawford and Brody Frain shared pitching duties, combining to give up 12 hits, four walks and strike out two.
Kadon Hulett went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and two RBI, while Chase Shiltz added an RBI and Crawford and Garret Taylor each drove in one run.
Chariton 13, Creston 3
R H E
Chariton 022 601 2 — 13 13 0
Creston 000 030 0 — 3 5 2
TJ Hockenson 2K 3BB 2HBP, Austin Peterson (7) 1K 0BB and Alex Wright. Nate Haley 0K 2BB, Cole Crawford (4) 0K 2BB, Kadon Hulett (7) 0K 1BB 1HBP and Zach Powers. W — Hockenson. L— Haley. HR — Ch: Jordan Baughman 1. 3B — none. 2B — Ch: Wright 2, Austin Ritenour 1, Baughman 1. Cr: Haley 1. RBI — Ch: Ritenour 3, Lucas Heaverlo 2, Baughman 2, Wright 1, Brett Braida 1, Ben Kinser 1. Cr: Powers 1, Jon Birchard 1. Multiple hitters — Ch: Ritenour 2, Heaverlo 2, Baughman 2, Wright 2, Kinser 2.