The big bats were on in Adel on Thursday, June 11, but not necessarily in favor of the team you would expect. A-D-M had 11 hits in their game against Van Meter en route to an 8-1 win at home.
The game featured a pair of conference champions. The Tigers (25-9) didn’t crack into the top-10 in the latest rankings while the Bulldogs (29-8) are ranked No. 3 in Division 1A.
Dylan Nelson picked up the win on the mound for the Tigers behind eight strikeouts and just one earned run in six innings pitched.
The Tigers put the first points of the game up on the board with a three-run second inning. Second inning runs were scored by Jackson VerWoert, Ethan Herron and Zach Ostendorf.
Herron had three doubles in the game, two of which hit off the wall in left field and fell just short of a homerun. On top of the doubles, Herron also had two RBIs. He was the only player in the game with multiple RBIs.
"He’s been in a little bit of a funk all season so it was good to see him break out and getting hot at the right time," A-D-M coach Jason Book said. "Hopefully he can carry it through."
Kyle Herrick led off the third inning for the Tigers and was walked by VMs Zach Prouty. He eventually scored the only run of the third inning and gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
The Bulldogs went down 1-2-3 in the top half of the fourth inning and that led to a monster four-run inning for the Tigers, who extended their lead to 8-0. Jordan Grove, Joe Sloss (courtesy runner for the pitcher, Nelson), Kolton Wicks (courtesy runner for the catcher, Logan Essy) and Eddy Chase scored runs in the fourth inning.
Grove went 2-for-4 in the game and stole three bases including stealing second and third in the first inning after a single in his first at bat.
"Speed kills," Book said. "With his speed there’s not many people who are going to get him out even when he does bunt. So his impact on the field and at the plate is just huge."
The Bulldogs finally got on the board in the top of the fifth inning. Ben Flaherty doubled to lead off the inning and the reached third base on a wild pitch eventually being batted in on a single by Jacob Eslick.
In the top of the sixth, the Bulldogs were threatening with the bases loaded with one out. Nelson struck out Flaherty for out number two.
VMs Kurt Sankey worked his way to a full count with two outs and the bases loaded but was struck out by Nelson without adding any runs to the board.
Chase came in to close the game for the Tigers and struck out two batters in the seventh to end the game and give the Tigers the win.
Going into the district tournaments VM coach Eric Trudo said he feels good about where the Bulldogs are.
"We’re 29-8, that’s nothing to be ashamed of, and conference champions so we’ve accomplished a lot but the regular season’s over and the second season begins and this is what we’ve prepared for all season so now it’s time to put it all together," Trudo said.
Book said that Tigers are getting close to where they want to be heading into the district tournament.
"Maybe not quite yet, but we’ll get there. We’re right on the edge," Book said.
The next night, A-D-M defeated Lewis Central in Adel by a score of 9-6 with three-runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings. Herrick pitched five innings and gave up just two runs on five hits and struck out eight batters.
Essy led the way for the Tigers with a 3-for-3, three RBI performance at the plate. Grant Goeden, Grove, Herrick and Herron also had one RBI apiece in the game.
The Tigers added a 5-2 victory over Saydel on Tuesday, scoring four runs in the final three innings. Jordan Grove was 3-for-4, Herrick was 2-for-4 and Jake Sloss scored twice. Herrick went six innings for the victory, striking out four and walking one while allowing just two hits.