Efficiency was the name of the game for the Van Meter baseball team Tuesday night as the Bulldogs used seven hits to earn seven runs in their 7-0 rout over Mount Ayr in the second round of the district 14 bracket.
Sophomore Zach Pleggenkuhle and junior Brett Berg performed as a two man wrecking crew on Mount Ayr pitching going a combined 5-for-8 with five runs batted in.
The first of the five RBI’s driven in by the two actually came by way of patience as Pleggenkuhle drew his 16th walk of the season which in turn sent home the first run in the bottom of the second. Two batters later, the big bat known as Brett Berg stepped up to the plate and drove a ball right up the middle on a 2-2 count which plated two more. A 3-0 lead would not stand for long as the Jacob Blomgren tacked on one more run via a sacrifice fly to earn his 45th RBI of the season.
That set up the Bulldogs with a sizable 4-0 advantage which would have been just fine given the ultimate ending, but it was still not enough for the Van Meter bats. The very next inning, Bryce Cole led off the bottom of the third with a five pitch walk. A few batters later, the always reliable Pleggenkuhle captured his 37th hit and 25th RBI of the season to kick off what would be a three run third for the Bulldogs. After a wild pitch brought the Van Meter lead up to six, Brett Berg tacked on one more of his own on a ball up the middle for the seventh and final run scored by the Bulldogs. That continued the perfect hitting night for Berg who went 4-for-4 with four singles, all the while keeping his hot bat alive as the junior captured his 11th game with at least one hit out of the past 12 contests. Berg also captured his sixth multi-hit game within that same span.
The Bulldogs wouldn’t capture another run from there on out but they wouldn’t need to as Anthony Potthoff went the distance with seven strong innings pitched without surrendering a single run. Mount Ayr hit just .154 off of the junior for the night as Potthoff dazzled with five strikeouts and just four hits allowed. The big key as it has been all season long, was getting ahead early. Potthoff did just that earning a first pitch strike 73 percent of the time. Potthoff now has 41 strikeouts total on the season.
The win brings the Van Meter record up to 29-3 and one step closer to a repeat trip to the state tournament. The next obstacle in their way will be a third meeting with non-conference foe Interstate-35. That match-up will take place on Saturday, July 20 in Van Meter. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.