Today the Van Meter baseball team is back in action tournament style with games against Class 3A’s fourth ranked Carlisle and Class 3A’s top ranked team in Davenport, Assumption.
The Bulldogs start their tournament with Carlisle at 10 a.m. this morning , part of two match ups that head coach Mike Kennedy described as important for his team.
“You want these kind of match ups against these high level teams,” began Kennedy. “Going up against Carlisle and Davenport, you know you’re facing some of the best in the state. It will only make us stronger going up against stronger competition.”
The Bulldogs, who aren’t doing too bad themselves, are currently ranked seventh in the latest Class 2A standings and come in with a mark of 17-3. One of those losses came against Carlisle back on May 30th in a 10-3 defeat and one of the few times the Bulldogs have failed to obtain five hits or more.
Coach Kennedy talked about what his team took away from that game and the thought process moving forward against the Wildcats.
“Last time out we played well but we just ran into a really good hitting team that night,” said Kennedy. “This time as a team we’ll continue to have to be really patient at the plate. On the mound, our pitchers are just going to have to go out there and throw strikes and now worry too much about strikeouts. That’s hard to do against a team like Carlisle so we need to make sure to throw strikes and let our defense help us out.”
Ever since the first match up against Carlisle, the Bulldogs have been on a tear loosing just twice in that time frame. One aspect that Kennedy has been quite pleased with is the play from his underclassmen.
“Our younger guys have really stepped up this year,” began Kennedy. “We haven’t had the overall numbers that we’ve had in years past so when we have to move a guy like Spencer Lamb or Mitch Pomeroy around to pitcher or other positions, we’ve had to fill in their spots with younger guys. Our underclassmen have really helped us out a lot because I can take Mitch (Pomeroy) and Anthony (Potthoff) away from second and short to pitch, meanwhile having guys like Jackson Wilcox and Cody Coffman to step up not have to worry about the performances in the field.”
Offensively, coach Kennedy has liked the consistency of his offense, despite the lack of power numbers on his team. The Bulldogs currently lead the West Central Activities Conference in doubles but also leads the conference in singles. Van Meter is currently fourth in all of Class 2A in total hits with 189. Kennedy remarked on how his team’s consistent offense will be a huge key moving forward.
“We may not be a team that hits a ton of extra base hits, but we do hit the ball very well,” began Kennedy. “We are a team the consistently hits the ball well and at the very least we’ll string together a number of singles and score that way. That has been a big thing for us this year and if we continue to be consistent in our approach at the plate, we’ll continue to win games even against tougher teams.”
Two of those tougher teams will face the Bulldogs today as their match up against Carlisle gets underway at 10 a.m. while their match up against Class 3A’s top ranked Davenport, Assumption will take place at Johnston High School beginning at 3 p.m.