CENTRAL CITY -- The Wilber American Legion Seniors were hoping to give their town a little something extra to celebrate during this weekend's annual Czech Festival, but came up short in their conquest.
Wilber reached the Class C American Legion Seniors State Championship game in Central City on Thursday, but settled for runner-up after falling to David City 11-2.
Had Wilber won the first game, they would have had to play them again immediately after because David City was still unbeaten in the double elimination tournament.
The game was closer than the final score indicated. It was 4-2 entering the seventh inning and Wilber had the tying runs on base in both the fifth inning and sixth innings.
David City's bats came alive in the seventh inning as they scored seven runs on their way to the 11-2 win.
Wilber never led in the game. They fell behind in the second inning when David City was able to plate four runs off Wilber starting pitcher Hunter Cerveny.
Two walks and an error loaded the bases with nobody out. A two-RBI single made it 2-0. A double steal allowed another run to score and a ground out brought in a fourth run to make it 4-0.
David City had a chance to do more damage in the inning, but Cerveny ended the threat with back-to-back strikeouts.
"We didn't get out of the gates really well," said Wilber coach Brandon Rieschick. "We had an error that was probably going to be a Taylor Made double play for us. Defensively, as a whole, we didn't play very good and when you're playing that caliber of a team, you can't have those mistakes."
Cerveny would settle down and hold David City scoreless for the next four innings. He was aided by an inning ending double play in the fourth inning and worked around a lead off bunt single in the fifth inning.
Wilber's offense finally got going in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Tanner Sand reached on an error, Dillon Rieschick singled and Cerveny walked to load the bases.
A two-RBI single by Josh Kalkwarf made it 4-2. Wilber had runners at second and third with just one out, but two ground outs ended the inning with no more runs scoring.
Wilber had another golden opportunity in the sixth inning when they got runners at first and second with one out, but a pickoff play resulted in the second out. Wilber managed to get the tying run on base again, but a ground out ended the inning.
David City's rally in the seventh started with a single, a bunt single and an error, which put runners at second and third with one out. A two RBI single made it 6-2.
Cerveny hit the next batter with the pitch, which resulted in a call to the bullpen. David City would then bust the game open with a single that loaded the bases and a three-RBI double that made it 9-2. They would eventually push two more runners across the plate to extend their lead to 11-2, which would be the final score.
"They had some really well-hit balls in that last inning," Rieschick said. "They just beat us. You have to give it to them."
Rieschick said offensively, they struggled to get their lead off man on all night.
"We left a lot of runners on base, but we didn't start mounting rallies until we had two outs," Rieschick said. "It's hard to get much production when that happens. When we finally had a chance, we got picked off at second base and that really hurt us"
David City dealt Wilber both of their losses in the tournament. They previously beat them 6-0 on Monday.
Rieschick said he's proud of the team for making it this far, considering their overall record was 18-20.
"To make this run like they did was great," Rieschick said. "We always knew they had the ability, but I'm really proud of them because we played some really stout competition. It's been a successful season and a lot of these kids just moved up this year after winning state as juniors last year. So we should be pretty good next year, too."
It was the last game for three seniors, who will be too old to play next year. Those kids include Nathan Thompson, Dustin Jelinek and Matt Petracek.
"I'm proud of those three guys," Rieschick said. "We had a great four years with them."