DAVENPORT — The Clinton River Kings’ quest for the Mississippi Athletic Conference baseball title took a hit Monday.

Fifth-ranked Clinton went into Monday’s doubleheader at Davenport Central leading the conference with a mark of 9-3. The third-ranked Blue Devils entered in a three-way tie for second place at 10-4.

Unfortunately for the River Kings Central boasts not only some of the best pitching in the conference, but some of the best in the state, and it showed Monday as the Blue Devils cruised to wins of 8-0 and 9-2 in a doubleheader sweep on Central’s Senior Night at Brady Street Field.

The Blue Devils leapfrogged Clinton and moved into a first-place tie with Bettendorf and Burlington, all at 12-4. Bettendorf and Burlington also swept doubleheaders Monday.

The River Kings are 9-5 in the league and have doubleheaders with Davenport North (7-17, 5-9) and Davenport West (7-18, 1-12) remaining. They visit North Thursday and host West Monday.

“We still have to beat North and West,” Clinton coach Trent Snowden said. “If we do that and Pleasant Valley splits with Central on Thursday we could still tie for the conference title.”

Central all-staters Zach Kenyon and Ryan Caudle dominated the doubleheader, firing six impressive innings apiece.

Kenyon, a recent ninth-round draft choice by the Kansas City Royals who has also committed to the University of Iowa, piled up 10 strikeouts and hurled six shutout frames of three-hit ball. University of Iowa head coach Jack Dahm was reportedly in attendance Monday.

Caudle, a first-year transfer from Davenport West, had a no-hitter and faced the minimum 15 batters through the first five innings. He wound up allowing two runs on two hits. He had six strikeouts.

“I think our kids were mentally ready for them,” Snowden said. “But, being mentally ready and actually seeing it are two different things. You have to give Central all the credit in the world.

“Both of them are first-team, all-state kids. One of them got drafted. They’re two of the best pitchers in the state. Central has the whole package. They’ve going to be tough to beat.”

The Blue Devils scored once in each of the first two innings of the opener to go up 2-0.

Clinton had an opportunity in the third inning. With two outs Scott DeAngelis drew a walk.

Ryan Hovey followed with a deep drive to right-center field that caromed off the glove of Caudle, the right fielder, then off the fence for a double. DeAngelis moved to third on the play. But, Kenyon struck out No. 3 hitter Ryan Clausen to end the inning.

Central blew the game open with a five-run third inning to make it 7-0.

The River Kings had another opportunity in the fifth inning. Shawn Winoski was hit by a pitch to open the inning. Drew Matzen then reached on a fielder’s choice on a fly ball to right that dropped in front of Caudle, who was able to force out Winoski at second.

Matt Weller singled to right. With two outs Hovey was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But, Clausen flew out to center to end the inning.

Caudle provided the last run of the game when he belted a solo home run in the sixth.

Early in Game 2 it looked like Caudle and Clinton’s Darryl Sexton would be locked in a pitchers’ duel. Both worked through the first two innings with little trouble.

The River Kings’ only baserunners in the first five innings came in the first inning when DeAngelis was hit by a pitch in the helmet to start the game and was forced out on a fielder’s choice by Hovey who was promptly caught stealing.

Sexton retired the first six batters he faced. But, he ran into trouble in the third inning, allowing four runs on five hits as Central went up 4-0.

The Devils scored two more runs in the fourth to make it 6-0. In a scary moment Central’s Paul Ryan blasted a line drive back at Sexton who appeared to get a glove on the ball before it hit him in the chest. Sexton took a few minutes to recover but was able to continue.

Central tacked on an unearned run in the fifth to make it 7-0.

Clinton finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth with two runs in the sixth. Winoski was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Matzen then broke up Caudle’s no-hit bid, lacing a double that moved Winoski around to third. Weller and DeAngelis followed with consecutive RBI groundouts, making it 7-2.

Hovey then provided the Kings’ only other hit of the game with an infield knock.

The Devils emptied their bench in the sixth, sending up a flurry of pinch hitters as they scored two more runs to make it 9-2.

Game 1

Score by Innings

Clinton 000 000 0 — 0 4 0

Dav. Central 115 001 x — 8 10 2

Evan Voss, Jeremy Stenda (2), Matt Weller (3) and Shawn Winoski. Kenyon, Gillund (7) and Burke.

Two or more hits—Central, Caudle, Taylor, Peterschmidt. 2B—Clinton, Ryan Hovey; Central, Taylor. HR—Central, Caudle. RBI—Central, Burke 2, Caudle, Taylor, Ryan, Staub, Peterschmidt 2.

Game 2

Score by Innings

Clinton 000 002 0 — 2 2 2

Dav. Central 004 212 x — 9 11 0

Darryl Sexton, Curtis Howard (4), Jacob Mangler (5), David Lakin (6) and Winoski, Drew Matzen. Caudle, Gillund (7) and Burke, Behrendt (7).

Two or more hits—Central, Taylor, Ryan. 2B—Clinton, Matzen; Central, Ryan, Meyer. RBI—Clinton, Scott DeAngelis, Weller; Central, Burke, Meyer, Taylor 2, Cartee, Kenyon, Staub.

Records—Clinton 20-7, 9-5 Mississippi Athletic Conference; Davenport Central 25-5, 12-4. Next—Clinton at Western Dubuque (DH), 11 a.m. today.

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