Although the wind whipped and the rain came down, the Van Meter baseball team still tangled with conference foe I-35 Saturday night in the Class 2A District 14 final.
It was rough waters that the Bulldogs would be sailing after facing the Roadrunners twice already throughout the regular season but on Saturday they made short work dispatching ten hits while giving up just three en route to a 15-0 four-inning victory. The Bulldogs put forth perhaps one of their more efficient games of the season with a mark of 8-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
In front of the hometown fans, Van Meter procured their 18th straight victory, matching one of Van Meter’s single season-best marks. That also marked the ninth win over that time span where Van Meter earned ten runs or more in a game this season. It didn’t take long before the Bulldog bats would strike hot as they got things going in the bottom half of the second. That inning had a bit of everything including four walks, a two-run single by Kolby Booge, a run-scoring error, and an RBI single by Zach Pleggenkuhle. That hit by Pleggenkuhle marked one of three runs batted in for the sophomore who was one of just three Bulldogs on the night to capture a multi-hit game.
Pleggenkuhle then continued to show off his well-balanced attack at the plate in the third inning as he helped usher in a run via the 17th walk of the season issued to the sophomore. That was part of a strong collective two-out approach by the Bulldogs who, as a team, collected seven of the eight runs scored in the inning after two outs. In total, it was a third inning to behold as Van Meter collected five hits, three walks, and a hit batsman en route to posting an eight-run bottom of the third, thus putting the Bulldogs well out in front 12-0.
Of the many highlights that made up the win, Spencer Lamb’s performance was included. The senior made his first competitive appearance since suffering an ankle injury back July 10 and he sure did not disappoint going a perfect 2-for-2 with one RBI, one walk, and one stolen base. A strong performance coming off of the injury which Lamb spoke about following the victory.
“The ankle felt good tonight, I was able to push off of it and it was great tonight,” said Lamb. “The trainer did a great job of taping me up and I just had to make sure not to do too much.”
Lamb was part of the final push to strike for three runs in the fourth inning, thus ending the game in early fashion by a 15-0 final.
It was the third straight win over Interstate-35 and the third straight win over the Roadrunners by ten runs or more. They now rest with an overall record of 30-3 as they now sit just one win away from a third straight trip to the state tournament. It has a lot of meaning to it even for a team like Van Meter who’s been there before.
“It’s always a big deal no matter how many times you make it,” said Lamb. “Every year has unique challenges and there are a lot of teams out there who are tough to beat. We all know this is the path we should be on and that state is the place we should be at.”
The Bulldogs will try for another consecutive trip to Principal Park on Tuesday, July 23. With the recent storms, the Bulldogs do not yet know who they will face but it will be either Kuemper Catholic or West Central Activities Conference foe Ogden.