On the final day of the 2019 regular season, the Van Meter baseball team captured their 28th win of the season in a 7-0 defeat over Class 3A foe ADM in Adel.
The Bulldogs proved stingy on both sides of the plate capturing seven hits offensively while allowing a mere two hits and no runs on the mound. Offensively Van Meter was led by top hitter Brett Berg who knew only about hitting doubles Thursday night as he went 3-for-4 on the night with all three hits being doubles, now giving him a mark of 18 doubles struck on the season ranking second in all of Class 2A behind Jake Hilmer of North Linn. Berg ended up earning four RBI’s for the night giving him a team-best 44 RBI’s for the season which also happens to rank third in all of Class 2A.
Berg kicked off the scoring for the Bulldogs to kick off the game in the top half of the first. A double to the left-field gap scored fellow junior Anthony Potthoff for the early 1-0 advantage. For Potthoff himself, he reached base in three out of his four trips to the plate including the RBI triple he produced in the third inning to give Van Meter a 2-0 advantage before yet another Brett Berg at-bat led to a run batted in to make it 3-0 heading into the fourth inning.
Jacob Blomgren added to the scoring mix with his only hit of the game in the top half of the sixth by following up a Brett Berg double with one of his own to score Berg from second. Blomgren would then come around to score later in that inning courtesy of a Cody Coffman sacrifice fly to center field, his 12th RBI of the 2019 campaign. The Bulldogs as a team would salt the game away in the top half of the seventh inning courtesy of yet another Brett Berg at-bat. In his final appearance at the plate for the night, Berg connected on a bases-clearing two-run double to the left-center field gap. That would be Van Meter’s seventh and final team hit of the night which was more than enough to solidify the victory.
Another big aspect to the win was the man on the mound as sophomore Zach Pleggenkuhle pitched a near-perfect game tossing three strikeouts, issuing no walks, and allowing a mere two hits across all seven innings of work. A lot was working for the sophomore star as he limited the normally potent Tiger offense who averaged nine hits per game coming into Thursday night to just two through seven innings.
“I had a few things I wanted to improve on with this game and I felt I did that tonight,” said Pleggenkuhle. “I wanted to improve on my changeup and locating my fastball and while I will continue to improve, I felt I did pretty well with those tonight.”
The win bumps the Bulldog record to a mark of 28-3 giving Van Meter baseball their lowest loss count since the 2014 season when they made a trip to the state tournament on the heels of a 32-3 season. The 2019 edition is looking well on their way to making it back to Principal Park for yet another consecutive season but this time will be a little different. If the Bulldogs keep winning, they will have the chance to play the entirety of the postseason at home, something that means a whole lot to Van Meter as Pleggenkuhle explained.
“While it’s not everything, to have home-field advantage is huge,” said Pleggenkuhle. “Everybody plays better at home and since we know the field, sun location, and will have all our fans out supporting us, we more comfortable than if we were to go on the road.”
The Bulldogs have indeed played great at home this season having not lost a single home contest all season. A chance for another home win will come Tuesday, July 16 as they take on the postseason round one winner between West Central Valley and Mount Ayr.