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Midgets ready for rematch with Centerville

July 22, 2018
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

Estherville Lincoln Central baseball players believe they have unfinished business in Des Moines after losing in the Class 2A State Quarterfinal a year ago.

Centerville players believe they have unfinished business after coming up a game short of the 2A Championship Game.

In fact, six of the eight teams of the teams in the 2A field are back at state after qualifying in 2017. Also returning this season are Van Meter, Regina-Iowa City, Treynor and Denver. The two absent teams are Beckman, Dyersville and Kuemper Catholic, who were in last year's 2A title game. New to the tournament this year are Wilton and Alta-Aurelia.

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Meanwhile, ELC and Centerville will meet at 5 p.m., today for the second time in two years in a 2A state quarterfinal. Last year, Centerville edged ELC 3-1 in eight innings.

ELC enters the state tournament ranked seventh, but with other top 10 teams failing to make the tournament, the Midgets receive the third seed this year. Third-ranked Regina, Iowa City enters the tournament as the top seed while fifth-ranked Wilton is seeded second.

Centerville was ranked earlier in the season, but is unranked entering the tournament for the second straight year and seeded sixth.

While ELC returns its entire state lineup from a year ago, Centerville graduated two key members including senior pitcher Brett Kauzlarich, who pitched all eight innings in last year's quarterfinal. The other key member was senior catcher Treye Rinehart, who batted cleanup.

Statistically, ELC enters the tournament as a better hitting than they were a year ago, batting .294 last season compared to .343 this year. The Midgets have the second best team batting average with Regina leading the way at .360.

Centerville enters the tournament with a .316 batting average.

However with all state teams having their ace pitchers, those numbers can be deceiving. ELC entered the 2017 tournament with a 1.25 earned run average while Centerville was at 4.16. This year, ELC still has a 1.60 team ERA while Centerville has a 2.95 ERA.

Baseball fans know it's all about matchups.

ELC has three pitchers with an ERA under 1.00 in Evan Olesen, Trey Jacobson and Briar Rowley. Only Olesen and Jacobson have pitched in the three postseason games. Olesen has a 0.57 ERA while Jacobson's ERA is 0.92. Rowley's ERA is 0.99.

Centerville senior Daniel Hargrave takes over the Big Reds' top spot. Like ELC's Olesen, Hargrave pitched a few innings in each of his team's postseason victories.

Hargrave threw 20 pitches and pitched two innings in an 11-1, five-inning victory over Pella Christian. He shut down Interstate 35 and earned the win in a 5-4 victory in Centerville's District Final. He pitched a complete game victory in a 5-2 substate win against East Marshall. For the season, Hargrave has a 1.70 ERA with 65 strikeouts to 10 walks and five hit batters. '

Olesen enters the tournament with 47 strikeouts compared to 10 walks and three hit batters.

ELC has three of the top hitters entering the tournament in Jacobson (.475), Rowley (.462) and Olesen (.431) while Centerville has just one player hitting over .400 in senior Tyson Belloma (.429).

ELC has shown the ability to avenge its losses so far this postseason. Three years ago, Pocahontas Area knocked the Midgets out of the playoffs, but ELC edgeds the Indians 4-3 in this year's district final.

Forest City gave ELC one of its losses during the regular season in 2017. The Midgets scored 10 runs against those Indians in a regular season game and in the substate game.

Can ELC do it again? Find out today.



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