Following the Iowa Print Writers All-State baseball list a few weeks ago, the coaches association recently released their version of the 2019 All-State baseball list.
For the Class 2A champion Van Meter Bulldogs, a similar cast of All-State characters graced the most recent list as juniors Anthony Potthoff and Brett Berg earned the honors. As it reads on the official list, Anthony Potthoff was deemed a first team All-State selection while Brett Berg was casted as a second team member. Both individuals are well deserving of their respective honors for a variety of reasons.
Potthoff was selected as a first team utility player and it’s easy to see why with his versatility. Inside the batters box, the junior procured 48 hits on the season and finished eighth in Class 2A with 44 runs batted in. Along with batting .407 on the season, Potthoff stole 14 bases, second best on the Bulldog roster. You could usually see Potthoff on the base-paths in some respect as he sported a .510 on-base mark once the season concluded. On the mound, the lead dog tossed 50 strikeouts with just 18 walks allowed while sporting a 1.91 earned run average. His versatility paid off in full force but while some people may be blown away by the junior’s performance, as head coach Eben Baumhover mentioned, it’s just the way Potthoff rolls.
“Anthony has had a stellar season this year no doubt, he’s been able to succeed with anything we’ve asked him to do,” began Baumhover. “The thing is a season like this is normal for Anthony. He’s always been this productive not just in baseball but every sport he’s played. That’s just who Anthony is, a dominant athlete.”
Potthoffs performance at state was just as dominant as he led the Class 2A field by crossing the plate five times. Across the entire state tournament scene in Class 2A, Potthoff was third or better in hits (third with four), runs scored (first with five), triples (tied for third with 1), total bases (tied for second with six), and third in strikeouts (third with five).
Brett Berg, arguably a first team selection, was given a second team nod as a first-baseman. It was a very curious aspect that Berg was not a unanimous first team selection, especially given the fact that he ended the season second across all of Class 2A in one of the more important stats in baseball, runs batted in with 53. If ever there was a beacon of consistency within the Class 2A ranks, Berg certainly fit that bill batting .536 (third in Class 2A) while knocking 60 hits, tied for third in the Class 2A field over the course of the season. Within the state tournament alone, the junior was top three or better in three separate categories. His five hits led the Class 2A state tournament field while his four RBI’s rank third behind fellow teammates Spencer Lamb (4) and Jacob Blomgren (5).
“If everything else were to go wrong, Brett Berg getting a base hit or an RBI would continue on,” said coach Baumhover. “He has quick hands through the ball and has phenomenal baseball vision. He’s the guy any team would want up with the game on the line. He is a first team player without a doubt.”
The junior was fifth across the 2A tournament in batting average with a .625 mark with five hits, four RBI’s, and a pair of walks. Berg also produced a 2.33 ERA with one strikeout through one appearance on the mound at state.
Both individuals were critical to Van Meter capturing their third overall state title. The two combined for 108 hits, 40 extra base hits, and 97 runs batted in.
The two were part of a well represented West Central Activities Conference field which saw seven conference players earn All-State honors.