MARSHALLTOWN — It was hard not to notice that Central Decatur had a losing record.
That fact, however, did not distract Don Bosco of Gilbertville. The Dons were not going to overlook the Cardinals in Tuesday’s Class 1A substate baseball final.
With the right approach, Don Bosco gradually pulled away for a 10-0, five-inning victory Tuesday at Bobcat Stadium to earn the program’s ninth state tournament berth, second straight and eighth since 2008.
The state tournament berth also broke an odd string of state appearances by the Dons, whose last three trips all came in even years — 2014, ‘16 and ‘18.
“I thought about that one quite a bit,” said Bryce Schares, one of the Dons’ three seniors. “It was kind of weird that all those fell on even years, but I was like, ‘It’s time we have to break it ... we got it done.’”
There was little suspense Tuesday although nothing was definite until the Dons broke loose for seven runs in the bottom of the fourth to blow open a 2-0 game.
Don Bosco (28-4) scored in the first inning, taking advantage of a pair of Central Decatur (13-18) errors, and made it 2-0 when Cael Frost hit a towering home run to right field that cleared the scoreboard for his sixth long ball of the season.
“You’ve got to figure the first few innings there is going to be a little bit of nerves, and I thought the way we swung the bat we were a little tight, a little jumpy,” Don Bosco head coach Joel Schares said.
“(The message) was you’ve got a job to do no matter who we are playing. Everybody feels like they are playing their best baseball of the year because they are in substate, and you still have your work cut out for you.”
The Dons put the game away with a fourth that was auspicious in nature. Ryan Naughton walked to open the inning and was sacrificed to second. He then scored on Easton Larson’s bloop single to right that fell between three Central Decatur defenders.
An error and a bad-hop single followed before Frost, Bryce Schares, Lewis Havel and Fischer Ohrt all followed with run-scoring hits, including Ohrt’s two-run single that made it 9-0.
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“It was tough. I don’t think we came out the way we wanted to, honestly,” Bryce Schares said. “We kind of just kept battling. Our hitting coach told us to keep putting the ball in play and they will start falling and that is what happened.”
Don Bosco finished the game after Dillon Welter opened the fifth with a double. He moved to third on wild pitch and Kendall Becker ended the game with a sacrifice fly to left that easily scored Welter.
Welter had two of the Dons’ four extra-base hits and drilled a triple in the second. He was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored. Schares had a double in the seven-run fourth.
Schares also picked up the win on the mound, scattering three hits, striking out four and walking none as he improved to 9-1.
“He threw a ton of fastballs,” Joel Schares said. “You have to out-hit us. We do feel like we are a good hitting team and we feel you have to outhit us to beat us. Bryce just threw a lot of fastballs, and he threw a lot of strikes.”
Don Bosco 10, Cent. Decatur 0
Cent. Decatur 000 00 — 0 3 4
Don Bosco 101 71— 10 10 1
Michel Evertsen and Dakota Reed.Bryce Schares and Cedric Yoder. 2B — Schares (DB), Dillon Welter (DB). 3B — D. Welter (DB). HR — Cael Frost (DB).