NEOLA, Iowa — Western Iowa Conference baseball has started and ended with Treynor for the past decade.

The Cardinals have won or shared the past 10 regular-season championships, including eight outright titles.

The Cardinals were a combined 33-3 in WIC play the past two summers. So when they started 5-4 in league play this year, some undoubtedly were wondering if Treynor had lost its edge.

Treynor found it Thursday night.

The Class 2-A No. 10 Cardinals pounded eight extra-base hits in a 17-hit barrage, dropping Tri-Center from the unbeaten ranks with a resounding 17-4, five-inning victory.

“We’re capable of playing this kind of baseball,” Treynor coach Bob Mantell said. “With having six new starters, we knew we were going to have growing pains. What we hoped was that by the time we started getting into the meat of our schedule, our guys would start figuring it out and start buying in a little bit. Knock on wood, hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.”

Treynor, also rated sixth in western Iowa 2-A/1-A, improved to 10-4 overall and 7-4 in WIC play, while western Iowa No. 2 Tri-Center dropped to 9-1 and 9-1.

The Cardinals ripped eight hits and scored seven runs in their first two innings against senior standout Kaleb Harrison (3-1), a Kansas City (Kansas) Community College recruit who entered with 27 strikeouts, two walks and a 1.37 ERA in 151⁄3 innings this season.

“We just came out knowing we were going to hit the ball hard, and being confident that we would,” said Treynor catcher Dean Bedell, who was 4 for 5 with two doubles, a triple and an RBI.

Justin Cox went 3 for 3 with a two-run homer, while Kristian Martens had two hits and four RBIs. Will Halverson went 3 for 4 with three runs scored.

Martens (3-1), a sophomore transfer from Riverside, pitched a four-hitter while striking out six and walking one against a team that entered sixth in 1-A with a .368 team batting average.

“He threw great tonight,” Mantell said. “He pounded the strike zone. He battled and competed.”

It has been an unpredictable series between the teams. Last year, Treynor swept the regular-season conference games, but then Tri-Center rolled to an 18-3 win in the conference tournament final. However, Treynor advanced to state with a 4-0 win in a 2-A substate final.

“That’s the thing about baseball,” Tri-Center coach Max Kozeal said. “You’re going to have games like this. I was proud of our kids. Your character is revealed through games like this. We had a lot of guys that were battling to the end of the game.”

Treynor (10-4, 7-4).............250 55—17 17 3

At Tri-Center (9-1, 9-1).........010 21— 4 4 4

W: Kristian Martens (3-1). L: Kaleb Harrison (3-1). 2B: T, Dean Bedell 2, Martens 2, Kyle Christensen. 3B: T, Tommy Duysen, Bedell. HR: T, Justin Cox; TC, Trevor Carlson.

Kevin is The World-Herald's lead western Iowa sportswriter, covering about 60 high schools. He's also in charge of the sports department at The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs.

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