PELLA — The Centerville Big Reds paid a visit to the Pella Little Dutch Tuesday night sporting a lofty No. 3 ranking in Class 3A high school baseball and it appeared that the Dutch were primed to spring a monumental upset. But the Big Red would escape with a 13-12 thriller.
For four innings Pella rode the perfect game pitching of Mason Wittmer to a 10-0 lead. Just three more outs and it would be time to salt away a 10-0 victory. But it wasn’t to be as Centerville’s Merrick Mathews laced a single past the shortstop to break up the gem. Walker White followed with a single, but he was forced out by a fielder’s choice. A walk and a ground out scored Mathews with the first Big Red run and Pella Coach Jesse Jablonski decided to go to the pen.
“I probably should have stayed with him,” Jablonski said. “But with the pitch count rules we needed to save him for Friday’s doubleheader at Osky. Our bullpen guys worked hard, but just couldn’t find the strike zone. Too many free bases and that put a lot of stress on the defense and the pitching.”
Centerville tallied eight runs in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 10 all. In that inning, three hits and six walks contributed to the eight runs.
The Reds put three more on the board in the top of the seventh to take a 13-10 lead, but the Dutch were not finished. Colby Van Gorp opened the bottom of the seventh with a base hit, but was forced out by a Nick Grandia ground ball. A strikeout accounted for the second out and then some thunder erupted. Nick DeJong mashed a towering drive far beyond the left field barrier to cut the lead to 13 – 12. That blast sent the home crowd into a frenzy. Drew Hillman and Jason Knox each ripped two-out singles to put the winning run on first with two out.
Centerville chose to bring Mathews from first base to the mound for a save opportunity. Mathews got Josh Miller to loft a fly ball to deep centerfield and Myles Clawson ran it down for the final out.
As gut wrenching as the loss was, there were still some positives and Jablonski pointed to the hitting by his team.
“We started to hit the ball the last two innings at Norwalk last night and it seemed to carry over to tonight,” Jablonski stated. “We had sixteen hits tonight and it was hitting up and down the lineup. We also played solid defense and had no errors. We can build on that.”
Knox led the Dutch with three hits and Grandia, Cole Hillman, Drew Hillman, DeJong, Adian Pollock and Van Gorp each had two hits.
Pella is now 4-4 with a single game at Newton Wednesday night and a twin bill at Osky on Friday.
Centerville 0 0 0 0 2 8 3 13 7 0
Pella 0 6 0 4 0 0 2 12 16 0
Pella Battery: Mason Wittmer 4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, Keegan Hansen 1 IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 0 K, River Baker o IP, o H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, Josh Miller .1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, Drew Hillman LP, 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K and Drew Hillman
Pella Hitting – Nick Grandia 2-for-5, Cole Hillman 2-for-5, Nick DeJong 2-for-3, Drew Hillman 2-for-5, Jason Knox 3-for-5, Aidan Pollock 2-for-3, Kaden Lyle 1-for-4, Colby Van Gorp 2-for-3
Pella runs – Grandia 2, C. Hillman 2, DeJong 3, Knox 2, Keegan Hansen 1, Pollock 1, Van Gorp 1.
Pella RBI – Grandia 2, C. Hillman 2, DeJong 2, D. Hillman 2, Knox 2, Pollock 1,
2B – C. Hillman 1, DeJong 1, D. Hillman 1, Pollock 1.
HR – DeJong.