What began as a state tournament vision was cut short Friday, July 12 as the Class 2A 12th ranked Van Meter Bulldogs fell short to conference foe Earlham.
It was the Class 2A Region Two semi-final match-up that brought the visiting Cardinals to Melissa Lyon Field and unfortunately for the hometown fans, Earlham was able to blank the Bulldogs offensively while putting up a few runs of their own in a 3-0 victory.
The loss suffered by the Bulldogs marked just the tenth defeat they’ve experienced all season long and it came in near dominating fashion. Van Meter came into the game averaging nearly ten hits and seven runs per contest but was limited to no runs on a mere two hits, a season-low for the Bulldogs.
Van Meter and Earlham were deadlocked in a scoreless tie for the vast majority of the contest before the Cardinals broke through in the top half of the sixth inning for three runs, thus opening up a 3-0 lead. That would end up holding through for the rest of the game and officially cutting down the great season that was for the Van Meter Bulldogs. In fitting fashion, the two hits for Van Meter both belonged to seniors in Meagan Blomgren and Haley Forret.
Inside the circle, youthful pitching phenom Macy Blomgren did all she could to hold back the ties, allowing just those three runs on six Cardinal hits with no walks and one of her season-best seven strikeouts. The loss overall ends Van Meter’s 2019 campaign with a record of 26-10 complete with a second straight West Central Activities Conference crown.
While the loss, unfortunately brings an end to the 2019 campaign for Van Meter, what’s more, is that it brings an end to the careers of seven Bulldog senior stars. This group helped to usher in what has been a dominant run for Van Meter dating back to the championship-winning season in 2016.
“These girls are a special group of girls,” said Bulldog head coach James Flaws. “They helped put together a state title season back in 2016 and they’ve been a huge part of why this program has been so successful recently.”
Perhaps that was no more evident than in the 2019 campaign where the Bulldog senior accounted for over 82 percent of the teams’ hits and 61 percent of their overall run production for the season. Even with that said, despite all the positive numbers put up by this senior group, what has made them such a great group goes beyond just the numbers and reaches a deeper level from being there through the loss of a loved one to the addition of a new life into the world.
“There has been a lot that has gone on in my life and these girls have been a part of that,” said coach Flaws earlier in the season. “When my wife was pregnant I couldn’t wait to tell the girls and ever since he was born, they’ve been great with him. That highlights what this senior group is all about. They’re great athletes but they’re even better people and I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for this program.”
There’s no doubt that this senior group has showcased their talents in full force over the course of their respective tenures. Now, a handful of seniors will look to take that to the next level including the Blomgren sisters Meagan and Mackenzie who will be attending Simpson next fall while Bulldog catcher Abby Archer will continue her softball endeavors at DMACC.