It may have taken some time but the Waukee baseball team earned a well deserved spot inside the top ten rankings in the latest Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association polls.
The honor comes after the Warriors obtained eight wins in their last ten games. That ten game spread included wins over Class 3A’s second ranked Carlisle (9-0), Class 4A’s fourth ranked Southeast Polk (7-5), and Class 4A’s second ranked Urbandale (7-3). The Warriors have averaged nearly seven runs per game during that ten game span while holding three ranked teams averaging six runs or more to a combined seven runs between them.
Waukee is currently wielding a team batting average of .300 with some good power to show with a slugging percentage of .409. They’ve been quite the potent offense for most of the season averaging six runs per contest. All of that while battling it out inside a proven CIML-Central Conference that has wielded three Class 4A champions in the last seven seasons.
While the bats can be quite dangerous for the Warriors, it’s also been patience that has helped spur on the program’s seventh consecutive 20 plus winning season. Currently Waukee holds the fourth lowest strikeout total with just 98 strikeouts suffered all season so far. Patience is no doubt a key contributor to the winning cause and something that head coach David Dirkx has been very pleased with this season.
“For the most part we’ve been very patient with out approach not just at the plate but on the mound and in the field as well,” started Dirkx. “We’ve lapsed a bit a times but for the most part the experience that these juniors and seniors have gained over the years have really helped this team become patient overall. This group is also very knowledgeable when it comes to the ins and outs of the game which has been very helpful in scoring situations.”
Of course with every team comes the continual strive for improvement and one thing that has plagued the Warriors at times has been consistency. In the eleven double headers series played so far, Waukee has split five of them, lost two, and have won four. In their nine losses, the Warriors have suffered 42 percent of their total strikeouts for the year with just twelve walks.
“Consistency has been our biggest obstacle this season,” began Dirkx. “It’s shown in double header play where we play like a state champion in one game but then turn around and play poorly the next. We’ve gotten better as of late but we still need to bring the same intensity and drive every game and that’s been hit or miss so far this season. We’re a very smart and talented team but we need more consistency in our play if we want to go deep into the postseason.”
Even with the less than stellar performances in the nine losses, the Warriors have still managed to accumulate an average of five runs per contest. Regardless of the ups and downs, the Warriors have never held a loosing record this season despite not having lit up the stat sheet which is something that coach Dirkx prefers.
“We may not be the biggest power hitting team, or the team with the most steals, or the team with the most hits but that is not a problem for us,” said Dirkx. “We may not be perfect in one single category but we are great in almost every category which makes us a very well rounded team. I’d rather us not have the biggest numbers because sometimes big numbers can go to the players’ heads and they lose their focus. We have always been a team that’s not focused on the numbers, just on getting better every game.”
The Warriors now bring their record up to 20-9 and join a group of 14 schools across all of Class 4A that has reached the twenty win plateau.