Despite 25 wins and a No. 2 ranking, the Van Meter baseball team will play for a state tournament berth on the road.
The Bulldogs will open Class 1A District 12 play against either Southeast Webster-Grand or Woodward Academy on July 16 at 5 p.m. in Madrid. The winner will advance to face either Prairie Valley or Madrid on July 18, also in Madrid.
Woodward-Granger will open against Guthrie Center, also on 16, in Granger, with the winner advancing to face either Earlham or Adair-Casey on the 18th in Granger. The District 12 championship will be July 20 at 7 p.m. in Granger. The winner will face the District 11 champion on July 23 in Marshalltown for a berth in the state tournament.
Van Meter is aiming for its first state tournament appearance since the team won the Class 1A title in 2003. The head coach then, Eric Trudo, is back in charge this season.
In Class 3A, A-D-M will begin its quest for a third consecutive state tournament bid by squaring off against Perry on July 19 at 7 p.m. in Adel. The winner will face either Gilbert or Nevada in the district final on July 22 in Adel. The substate game will be in Boone on July 24.
Defending champion Dallas Center-Grimes opens at home against Bondurant-Farrar on July 19 in Dallas Center. The winner will face either Knoxville or Ballard on July 22, also in Dallas Center, with the substate game to follow on July 24 in Norwalk.
In Class 4A, Waukee drew the third seed in the Substate 2 bracket and will face Ames on July 19 at home. The winner will face either Fort Dodge or Mason City in the semifinal, with top-seeded Ankeny likely waiting in the substate final.