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DES MOINES – As Trent Hoogerwerf connected with the ball Centerville senior pitcher Daniel Hargrave had one thought.
“He hit it really solid,” Hargrave began. “I just immediately thought ‘Oh man what did a I just do?’”
It turned out what Hargrave had done was secure a state title, with some help from leftfielder Tiger Terpstra.
Terpstra took a step in but reversed course and hauled in a sharply hit drive by Hoogerwerf for the final out as Centerville (27-7) held off third-ranked Regina 4-3 in the Class 2A state title game at Principal Park in Des Moines.
“I took a step in thinking I was going to have to come in and I thought oh shoot it’s hit further than I thought,” Terpstra said. “I reached out and was able to make the catch and it felt great to get that last out.”
Hargrave wasn’t alone in thinking the drive off the bat of Hoogerwerf was a game-tying hit, or even more.
Nearly everyone in both dugouts along with the 2,732 in attendance had similar thoughts as the ball left Hoogerwerf’s bat.
“I thought that was going off the wall to be honest,” Regina senior Ryne Schooley said. “The left fielder came in on it so I thought it was going to burn him but he made a great play to catch the ball.”
Instead it landed in Terpstra’s glove, ending a two-run seventh-inning rally for Regina (29-8) which dropped to 0-4 all-time in state title games.
“He squared it up, he turned on it,” Regina coach Jeff Pacha said. “Their left fielder came in and he did a heck of a job and Trent did a heck of a job with two strikes that’s a tough spot to be in, all the momentum is on their side. He squared it up and it didn’t land our way.”
Hargrave (10-1) struck out nine in a complete game as Centerville won its third state title and first since claiming the 3A crown in 2008.
The senior right-hander limited Regina to just one run on five hits through the first six innings as the Big Reds built a 4-1 cushion.
“I was really changing the eye level of my fastball,” Hargrave said. “I knew that as a good hitting team they were expecting a bunch of off-speed so I just hoped I could get one time through the lineup with a lot of fastballs and then I could go backwards and get them down with curveballs and finish with fastballs.”
Centerville got an unearned run off Regina starter Mitch Gahan (9-3) in the first and pushed the lead to 2-0 in the fifth when Kayden Kauzlarich led off with a single, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored a Terpstra sac fly.
Regina cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning. Nick Brandt led off with a double and pinch runner Levi Quinlan stole third and scored on an RBI single to right field by Schooley.
“We’ve prided ourselves all year on not staying down,” Schooley said. “I felt like we did a great job battling and coming back we were just a little short.”
Centerville took a 4-1 lead in the sixth and entered the bottom of the seventh still leading by three runs.
Regina would not go quietly.
Brandt reached on an error to start the inning and Jayden Kies single to right.
Senior Ryan Schott followed with a line drive double to the left center field gap that cut the lead to 4-3.
“We battled, we battled and that’s what this group has done,” Pacha said. “We did what we’ve done for a few years now, we fought to the last pitch but Centerville earned that one, that’s a heck of a team they deserve to be state champions I give them a lot of credit.”
With Schott on second, Hoogerwerf fell behind 0-2 to Hargrave.
Hoogerwerf lined the third consecutive curveball from the Centerville ace sharply at Terpstra in left field.
Terpstra initially broke in but retreated and stretched to make the grab.
“I threw him three straight breaking pitches and he didn’t hit the first two and I threw him another one and he’s a good hitter and he knew it was coming and I just thought oh no,” Hargrave said. “And then Tiger, he catches fly balls like that all the time and he caught a big one.”
The loss snapped a 12-game winning streak for Regina and marked the first time in the postseason the Regals had allowed more than three runs in a game.
Gahan took the loss, allowing three earned runs on six hits while striking out three and walking one.
“I thought I could have been better,” Gahan said. “It took me an inning or two to get into a rhythm and they took advantage of it.”
The loss ended an impressive two-year run for the Regals in which they went 57-16, reached the state semifinals back-to-back years and played in the state championship for the first time since 1994.
“I’m extremely proud of our guys and what we accomplished,” Pacha said. “We gave it everything we’ve got and fought to the very end. We didn’t get it done but I’m super proud of these guys and I love every one of them and we should be proud of what we accomplished.”
Class 2A State Title Game
Centerville 100 012 0 – 4 6 1
Regina 000 010 2 – 3 7 3
W – Daniel Hargrave L – Mitch Gahan
2B – ICR: Nick Brandt, Ryan Schott. CEN: Brady Kauzlarich