After reeling off five straight victories over the span of three days last week, the Ankeny Centennial baseball team entered Monday’s doubleheader at Valley on a hot streak.
However, the Jaguars were unable to use any of the hurlers that threw on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, due to the pitch-count rule established by the Iowa High School Athletic Association. That forced Centennial coach Mark Hey to dig deep into his pitching staff for Monday’s twinbill.
“We were stretched a little bit,” Hey said. “We got some good innings out of a few guys, but Valley was just too strong in a few of the innings.”
The Tigers posted a 7-3 victory in the opener, then completed a sweep with a 15-5 win in five innings in the nightcap. It was the CIML Central Conference opener for Valley, which improved to 6-4 on the season.
Centennial’s records dropped to 2-2 in the conference and 7-3 overall.
“Valley’s got a really nice ball club,” Hey said. “They hit the ball extremely well.”
The Jaguars took a 5-3 lead in the second game before Valley erupted for 11 runs in the bottom of the third inning. The Tigers then added another run in the fourth to win the game via the 10-run mercy rule.
Drake DeAngelo (0-1) took the loss for Centennial. He was one of four pitchers used by Hey.
Greyson Jennings went 2-for-2 with a double for the Jaguars. Josh Meador and Keaton Gray each scored a run and drove in another.
Connor Kesterson (0-1) was the losing pitcher in the first game. He allowed four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings, giving up three hits and six walks.
Luke Loney allowed just two unearned runs over the final 3 2/3 innings, but Centennial was unable to overcome an early 5-1 deficit.
“Loney did a nice job,” Hey said. “He kept us in the game.”
Gray went 2-for-3 with two doubles and one RBI in the loss. Kesterson also went 2-for-3.
Cory Prange hit a solo home run, his second of the season. He also walked twice and stole a base.
“Our hitting is starting to come along,” Hey said.