Sam Staley

Sam Staley gave up one earned run in four innings on the mound Saturday

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. — Five players notched at least three hits and the Central College baseball team pounded out 21 total hits in a 13-5 win over Elmhurst University (Ill.) Saturday afternoon.

Central (1-0) exploded into the 2023 season after last weekend’s opening doubleheader was cancelled. Elmhust (1-3) had played the previous weekend in Jacksonville.

“Early in the game, I really felt Elmhurst looked like a team that had played and we looked like a team that hadn’t played,” coach Casey Klunder said .“Once we settled in, the hits started to come and it was really fun to watch.”

Freshmen Chance Dreyer (Davenport, Assumption HS) and Kasey Carter (Prole, Indianola HS) had stellar debuts at the plate for the Dutch. The third baseman Dreyer was 3-for-6 with two solo home runs and a double. Shortstop Carter was 4-for-6 and scored three times.

“They’ve both created a good set of habits in a short amount of time in college,” Klunder said. “It’s hard to imagine there’s been too many debuts better than that.”

Pitcher/designated hitter Declan O’Hare (senior, Los Angeles, Calif., John Marshall HS), centerfielder Logan McCoy (sophomore, Galva, Alta-Aurelia HS) and left fielder Chase Martin (sophomore, Port St. Lucie, Fla., John Carroll HS) also had three hits apiece.

An all-senior battery led the Dutch as a trio of senior Central pitchers tossed to a senior catcher. O’Hare got the win as the starter after striking out six in four innings. Sam Staley (Cedar Rapids, Jefferson HS) allowed just one earned run over the next four frames before Kurby Vowels (Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) slammed the door with a pair of ninth-inning strikeouts. Catcher Brenden Mudd (Greenwood Village, Colo., Cheery Creek HS) backstopped the whole nine innings.

“Declan didn’t have his best stuff but he battled and found a way to win,” Klunder said. “And we found a way to close it out for him which we weren’t always able to do last year. All three worked hard in the offseason and it showed today.”

The Dutch have a pair of nine-inning games against two different opponents Sunday back in Jacksonville starting with a 10:30 a.m. first pitch against Eureka College (Ill.). They will see Elmhurst against at 1:30 p.m.

“We’re looking forward to a tough challenge tomorrow,” Klunder said “I think we’ll see Eureka’s best pitcher because they did not play today.”

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