No matter whether it was on the mound, at the plate, or on the base paths, it proved to be an impressive first week for the Central DeWitt baseball team.
Ranked second in Class 3A after last year’s state runner-up finish, the Sabers did little to endanger that high accolade, reeling off six victories in four days, five of them by at least five runs.
That included a season-opening sweep of sixth-ranked Marion — by matching 7-2 scores — and additional sweeps of Davenport Central and Vinton-Shellsburg.
Along the way, the Sabers have been tough at the plate — their 50 RBIs are tied for the most in Class 3A, their 58 runs tied for second — and aggressive on the base paths where they have already stolen 23 bases.
The Sabers pitching staff’s 44 strikeouts, meanwhile, rank second in the class.
Central DeWitt set the tone for their big week in the first inning of Monday’s opener with Marion.
Senior Luke Anderson coaxed a two-out walk and then advanced all the way from first to third on an errant pick-off throw.
A hustling Tucker Kinney forced an early and off-target throw to first for another error, plating Anderson, and then scored himself after back-to-back singles by Boomer Johnson and Henry Bloom.
The Indians countered with two runs in the third inning, but Central DeWitt broke the tie with a big fourth inning.
The Sabers batted through their lineup in the frame, bringing 11 batters to the plate and pounding out five hits, including two doubles.
The result was five runs that gave the home team the lead for good.
Senior Alex McAleer made sure of it, limiting the Indians to just one hit over the final three innings. The senior allowed just four hits and struck out seven.
Johnson went 4-for-4 at the plate, with a double, and six other Sabers also had hits. Kinney and John McConohy each drove in two runs with the former also scoring twice.
The Sabers spread out their scoring in the nightcap, plating two runs in three different innings.
Anderson provided the exclamation point, slamming a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth.
That was part of a big game for the senior, who had three hits — a double, a single and the home run — drove in four runs and picked up the win on the mound, allowing just three hits in five innings of work and fanning seven.
The Sabers walked 10 times in the contest. McAleer had four walks alone and he made them hurt, scoring twice. Ben Mason also scored two runs and so did Kaiden Muhl.
Two days later, the Sabers took a pair of games from future conference foe Davenport Central.
Central DeWitt took a slugfest in the opener, breaking open a game that already featured 20 combined runs with a seven-run seventh inning to clinch an 18-9 victory.
The Sabers pounded out 14 hits, helping them build a 10-4 lead. The Blue Devils, though, used patience at the plate — they earned 14 walked — to get back within two at 11-9.
After a strikeout to begin the seventh inning, the next seven Central DeWitt batters all reached safely and eventually scored. The final three batters of the stretch — Anderson, Kinney and Johnson — combined for two doubles and four RBIs.
Anderson, who belted his second home run in as many games, finished with a team-high five RBI, collected three hits and scored twice.
Noah Thein singled in all four of his at-bats and led the team with four hits. Kinney and Johnson both had two hits (one was a home run for the former), while Nolan Haack, McConohy and Muhl all scored three times.
Six different pitchers took to the mound for the Sabers.
Things were closer in the nightcap. It was a one-run game heading to the sixth inning when the Sabers picked up some breathing room, as Henry Bloom singled and scored on a wild pitch, while Thein knocked in McConohy with a single.
The Blue Devils made things interesting in the seventh, loading the bases with one out. The hosts drove in one of the runs with a groundout, but left the tying run on third as Thein ended the game with his 10th strikeout.
Thein pitched the final six innings in relief, spreading out five hits and surrendering just the single run.
Thein added two hits, the same number as Anderson. McConohy, meanwhile, scored twice.
The Sabers had little trouble with the Vikings a day later, ending both games early: winning 10-0 in six innings in the opener and 11-1 in five innings in the nightcap.
Kinney opened the scoring in game one with a home run in the fourth inning and the Sabers never stopped, scoring three times in the fourth, four times in the fifth and three times again in the sixth to end things early.
Kinney and Thein both had two hits, while Anderson, Kinney, Bloom and McConohy all scored twice.
Johnson cruised to the win, allowing just two hits and striking out eight.
The Sabers made it a sweep after pounding out eight more hits in the nightcap.
Nearly half of the hits came from McAleer, who went 3-of-4 with a single, double, and triple, while driving in five runs and scoring twice.
Haack scored four times in the game, while Mason and Muhl joined McAleer with two runs.
McConohy earned the win on the mound, allowing just a single hit, while fanning four.