On July 10, the Dallas Center-Grimes baseball team’s record was at 14-14 (.500). By the end of the regular season and the substate tournaments, the Mustangs were at 22-14 and qualified for the State Tournament and finished as the 2014 Class 3A runners up.

They were able to do this by holding opposing batters to a Class 3A second-lowest .173 batting average and finishing ninth in Class 3A in strikeouts, and their defensive game was on display at the state tournament as it took the Mustangs nine innings and a number of clutch defensive moments to come out on top against Fairfield in the first round before winning by a narrow 2-1 margin against Sergeant Bluff-Luton by a score of 2-1.

After losing 1-0 in the championship game to Davenport Assumption, one thing was clear. The Mustangs were hurt by their struggles at the plate all season long and at the state tournament.

While they did only give up two runs throughout the tournament, they only produced four and went 11-for-80 at the plate for a .138 batting average as a team. While they scored more runs than they gave up, they scored fewer runs in three games than Harlan did in one game at the tournament as they lost 8-7 in the first round to the 2014 state champions, Davenport Assumption.

According to quikstatsiowa.com the Mustangs were 10th-worst in Class 3A in batting average at .255 over the course of the year.

Pitchers Cole Baker, Max Balzer and Tyler Pierson gave the Mustangs a chance to take home a state title this season, but the run support wasn’t there. Justin Carlyle was the only DC-G batter to have more than one hit in a game at the state tournament when he went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the semifinals against Sergeant Bluff-Luton.

If there’s one thing that can be learned from this year’s state tournament at the Class 3A level, it’s that defense and pitching can get you close to a state championshiop. With a little more run support on the offensive side, it could’ve been the Mustangs raising the state championship trophy at the end of the tournament at Principal Park on Aug. 2.