CENTRAL CITY — The David City Senior Legion baseball team's recipe for success has been simple this season.
Head coach Steve Rerucha knows his team performs best when the players are relaxed and enjoying their time on the field.
When David City was tense at the plate early in Monday's third-round Class C state tournament game against Wilber, starting pitcher Joe Lance gave his teammates time to settle down.
Lance held Wilber scoreless through the first three innings at Kernel Field in Central City while the David City bats struggled to find their rhythm. Neither team had a hit in the opening three frames.
“The first few innings, I think we were tense, but Joe Lance did a great job of starting," Rerucha said. "He kept us mentally in the game where nothing got out of control until we started loosening up and hitting the ball and doing what we do well."
Rerucha’s squad got going at the dish in the following four innings with seven hits and six Wilber errors leading to six runs as David City guaranteed itself a shot at a state title in the double-elimination tournament with a 6-0 victory.
Wilber scored 22 total runs in its first two games of the state tournament, but struggled against the David City pitching.
Lance allowed three hits and no runs in 3 1/3 innings of work. He threw just 45 pitches, making him eligible to pitch again Wednesday.
Nathan Uhrmacher finished the game on the mound for David City, surrendering only one hit.
“We didn’t want to burn him,” Rerucha said of the decision to pull Lance early. “We knew that Nate’s been throwing really well. He’s been doing a great job and they’re a totally different type of pitcher, so it takes a lot to get batters used to.”
Nolan Helgoth and Ryan Worm broke the ice for David City with back-to-back hits in a two-run fourth inning.
Branden Daro led off the frame by reaching base on an error before Helgoth drove him in with a single. Worm doubled to plate Helgoth.
Daro got on base for the second straight inning in the fifth, this time with a two-out single that scored Nolan Hartman to put David City up 3-0.
David City added three more runs in the seventh inning on RBI singles by Matt Nadrchal and Helgoth and another Wilber error.
“It was a really nice team effort, and that’s the way these kids are, they’re a team,” Rerucha said.
David City, which has outscored its opponents 25-4 in three state tournament games, will face Yutan in one of Wednesday's semifinal contests after the conclusion of the first semifinal game between Wilber and Palmer-Wolbach-Greeley, which was postponed in the sixth inning Tuesday by rain. Win or lose, David City will play Thursday for a state title.