The Park Hills Central Rebels are Class 4 District 2 Conference Champions after barely edging Poplar Bluff on Monday, 2-1, and then blanking Farmington 8-0 on Tuesday to claim the title.
The two wins moved them to 14-1 on the season, but they did fall on Friday to a very tough West County Bulldogs team, 4-2, dropping them to 14-2. Still, it’s been an extremely dominant season for the Rebels and they look poised to make a deep playoff run in 2023.
The game against Poplar Bluff was an old fashioned pitchers’ duel as both teams were held scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Central finally put a crooked number on the scoreboard. Ty Schweiss led off the inning by getting plunked, and then stole second to get into scoring position. Casen Murphy then roped a single to right and Schweiss came around to score.
With two outs, Kendall Horton kept the inning alive with a base hit and Barrett Henson drove him home with a line shot to center. Horton was thrown out at home on the play, but the damage was done and the Rebels had themselves a 2-0 lead.
The Mules tried to rally in the top of the final inning, and did manage to get a run across the plate after an error, but Central fended them off with some solid work out of the pen by Horton. He struck out two in the inning to earn the save and preserve the win for Kale Dreier, who went five shutout innings and allowed just two hits.
Offensively there wasn’t much of a story to tell beyond the two-run fourth, but Murphy and Henson did each manage a two-hit game.
That set the stage for the game at Farmington just 24 hours later for all the Conference marbles. The first two innings were quiet, but once again, the Rebels struck first. They plated four runs in the third inning, and it started with an RBI single from Sammy Callaway. Horton followed that up with one of his own, and then Benson plated two more with a stroked base hit to right. That made it 4-0 and Central wouldn’t look back.
They doubled the score in the fourth inning thanks to an error, a Schweiss steal of home, a blistering RBI double by Murphy and a run-scoring frozen rope by Horton to go up 8-0. Then all they had to do was sit back and watch Murphy on the mound.
The hard-throwing ace dazzled in his start, tossing a complete game shutout and allowing just three hits. He threw 69 of his 99 pitches for strikes, walked just one man and punched out 15 Knights. It was pure domination and assured the Conference Championship for the Rebels.
Horton and Henson each had big days with two hits and two RBI apiece, and Callaway, Schweiss and Murphy all drove in a run in the game as well. The Rebels used a nine-hit, five-walk attack to take the game 8-0.
They looked like they were going to add another win to their resume on Friday against West County, holding a 2-0 in the top of the sixth inning, but the Bulldogs had other ideas. A costly error led to four runs in the bottom of the frame and sealed the Rebels’ fate.
A great start from Lucas Whitehead went to waste, as he tossed five scoreless innings and allowed just four hits and two walks. On the offensive side of things, Schweiss went 2-for-3 and Matt Manion picked up the only RBI for Central.
Despite the loss, it was still a fantastic week, amidst what has been a brilliant season for the Rebels. They now have a coupe days to rest up before the MAAA Tournament that starts early next week.