CHARITON — A seven-run first inning set the tone for seventh-ranked Chariton to swamp visiting Creston, 10-0, here Tuesday.
Just a week earlier, the Chargers (32-5) won the same matchup at Panther Field, 13-3.
That leaves Creston coach Steve Birchard convinced of one thing.
“They are a very good team,” Birchard said. “Now I am sure they are the best team we have played. Up and down the lineup, they can hurt your. They have good pitching and they play good defense. They are better than Glenwood.”
Chariton is ranked seventh on the final Class 3A rankings, one spot in front of Glenwood (26-6), which shared the Hawkeye 10 championship this year with Carroll Kuemper Catholic at 16-2, one game in front of Harlan.
The Chargers went in front 7-0 in the first inning, as Panther starting pitcher Keaton Hulett lasted one-third of an inning. He was charged with six earned runs on four hits, one walk and a hit batsman before being relieved by Cole Crawford.
Crawford, the likely starter in Friday’s district opener vs. Greene County, settled down with 2 2/3 innings of work, allowing only one run on four hits and no earned runs with one walk. Nate Haley finished up with 1 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits with a walk.
The only Creston hits against three Charger pitchers were two by Zach Powers and another by Jon Birchard.
Creston finishes the regular season at 12-18, dropping its final eight games. Greene County is 14-16, finishing its regular season tonight against Dallas Center-Grimes.
As Creston hosts the district competition Friday, Glenwood takes on Winterset at 5 p.m., followed by the Panthers and Greene County. The winners face each other Monday at Panther Field.
The Creston JV finished up an 11-9-1 season with an 8-3 victory over Chariton Tuesday.
Cody Crawford pitched six innings, allowed three runs on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
Brody Frain and Kadon Hulett were each 2-for-4 for the Panthers, including two doubles by Hulett. Hulett drove in three runs and Frain and Crawford each had one RBI.
Creston had no errors in the game.
“For a JV team of mostly eighth-graders, I’m happy to end with a winning record,” coach Kyle Wilson said. “They are a group that improved over the course of 20 games and were fun to be around. They make me excited for the future of Creston baseball.”
Chariton 10, Creston 0
R H E
Creston 000 00 — 0 3 2
Chariton 710 11 — 10 13 0
Cr: Keaton Hulett 0K 1BB 1 HBP, Cole Crawford (1) 0K 1BB, Nate Haley (4) 0K 1BB and Zach Powers. Charlie Palmer 1K 1BB, Brett Braida (3) 1K 0BB, Jordan Baughman (5) 1K 1BB and Alex Wright. W — Palmer. L— Hulett. HR — Ch: Wright. 2B — Ch: Austin Ritenour, Lucas Heaverlo. RBI — Ch: Ritenour 2, Heaverlo 2, Wright 2, T.J. Hockenson 2, Ben Kinser 1, Jordan Baughman 1. Multiple hitters — Cr: Powers 2; Ch: Ritenour 3, Heaverlo 3.