With a record of 35-4-1 this season, the Waukee baseball team is going on to the state tournament, and even have the No. 1 seed, starting next week after their 6-1 win against Norwalk in the substate finals on Wednesday. Gloves flew into the air and the dugout stormed the mound in celebration after Waukee second baseman Addison Meyers threw to Levi Schreiner at first base for the final out of the game.
Matt Mullenback pitched six scoreless innings and struck out eight batters before giving up three hits and a run in the top of the seventh inning before being relieved by Schreiner with two outs to go. Mullenbach still got the win, which made him a perfect 10-0 on the season in 11 starts.
"He got a little tired, and I think his velocity dipped a little bit," said Waukee coach Dave Dirkx. "His first six (innings) were about as good as he’s been."
Mullenbach has a 0.74 earned run average and 56 strikeouts with batters hitting .187 against him this year. Schreiner has not started a game, but has made nine appearances and has a 1.27 ERA, eight strikouts and seven saves in 11 innings pitched.
The top five batters of the Warriors’ lineup all had one hit and one run in the game, including the top three, Luke Fegen, Nick Moffit and Matt Hoeg, who scored in the bottom of the first inning to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead early on. Schreiner, Matt Corbett and Justin Sell, a pinch runner, also scored runs in the game against Norwalk.
The Warriors finished in the field with no errors and Dirkx thought they played "well" in the game.
"We threw striked, we fielded it, which is huge," Dirkx said. "At the plate, we were really good also. We got three in the first, which is most important. That’s where we wanted to try to get his pitch count up early in the game."
The Warriors start their state tournament run on July 30 at Principal Park against CIML opponent and defending state champion, Johnston. The game starts at noon.