Three is an important baseball number.
Three strikes and you’re out.
Three outs and a half inning is over.
The Central DeWitt baseball team certainly made the most of its important threes during Monday’s 3A District 7 final with Center Point-Urbana.
The Sabers collected three hits, but more importantly turned them into three runs.
That was more than enough support for senior pitcher Alex McAleer, who held the Stormin’ Pointers to three hits of their own.
The result was a 3-0 Sabers victory and the program’s third straight district title.
The only thing standing between Central DeWitt and its second straight berth in the 3A state baseball tournament is Marion, which won 3A District 8. The Sabers and Indians, who were both state semifinalists a year ago, will meet in a 3A Substate 4 final Wednesday night at DeWitt.
The Pointers hit back-to-back two-out singles in the first inning against McAleer, but were limited to just one hit the rest of the way as the senior struck out seven batters and walked just two (an error gave Center Point-Urbana two runners in scoring position in the fifth inning, but McAleer responded with a strikeout and induced a fly-out to skirt any damage).
The Sabers, meanwhile, strung their three hits together in the second inning as back-to-back-to-back singles by Nolan Haack, Henry Bloom and Ben Mason loaded the bases.
Kaiden Muhl drove in one run with a sacrifice fly, while Mason added a second on a wild pitch.
Central DeWitt added an insurance run in the fifth without needing a hit as John McConohy walked, took second and third on defensive indifference and scored on a fly-out by Tucker Kinney.
That was plenty of support for McAleer, who retired the final eight batters he faced.
The Sabers earned their spot in the district final by knocking off Anamosa, 10-3, in a semifinal contest Friday.
Central DeWitt wasted no time jumping on the Blue Raiders as they pushed across six runs in the first inning and never looked back.
The first Sabers batters reached safely — McConohy and Kinney singled, McAleer and Boomer Johnson walked — and eventually scored, while Noah Thein drove in Bloom and Mason later in the inning with his single.
The hosts answered Anamosa runs the rest of the way, scoring once in the third, twice in the fifth and once in the sixth to wrap up the victory.
Haack, Kinney and Thein all had two hits with the latter two Sabers also driving in two runs. McAleer scored a team-high two runs and also earned the victory on the mound pitching three innings and allowing just two hits. Johnson handled the next three-plus innings and struck out a team-high five batters, while Thein got the final out.
The Sabers wrapped up their regular season on Tuesday night with a non-conference visit to rival Maquoketa.
The Cardinals, though, struck for four runs in the first inning and kept their guests in check for a 5-0 win.
The Sabers had three hits — singles for McConohy and Kinney and a double for McAleer — while Maquoketa turned five first-inning hits into four runs to seize control early.