A solid mix of defense and hitting kept Class 2A’s top dog in Van Meter without a loss as they bested conference foe Madrid in both games of their Thursday road doubleheader.
Finding efficiency in scoring has been a hallmark of Van Meter baseball and Thursday night, despite being outhit by the host Tigers, the Bulldogs walked away victoriously and a winning streak dating back to June 15 of last season.
Game one fell in favor of the Bulldogs by a 10-3 margin. Interestingly enough, that came despite Madrid out matching Van Meter in the hit column with nine hits compared to five for the Bulldogs. Van Meter made the most of all five Madrid errors on the night. One such error helped to spur on a five-run first inning for Van Meter. The only two Bulldog hits for the inning were productive and included a two-run triple by senior Bryce Cole, the third triple of his career. Jacob Blomgren also contributed to the scoring efforts with an RBI triple.
Brett Berg added on to the Bulldog lead in the second on an RBI single to center while another Madrid error plated one more Van Meter run the third inning as well. The rest of the run total came in the fifth inning for Van Meter and once again, efficiency was the main headline. Another Tiger error plated a run while a Blomgren RBI single not to mention Berg’s team-leading 17th RBI double coming on a sacrifice fly to round out the game one scoring for Van Meter. On the mound, Gannon Archer picked up the win, tossing five strong innings and striking out six while allowing just one earned run on his watch.
Game two was a bit closer for the visiting Bulldogs in an 8-6 victory. Six Bulldogs recorded a hit in the game highlighted by a big game from Zach Pleggenkuhle. The junior struck two hits in four trips to the plate and thanks to a single and a double, plated three runs for the team. Another early lead set the Bulldogs off for the races which came courtesy of a wild pitch and an Anthony Potthoff sacrifice fly.
Perhaps the biggest offensive adversity that has faced the Bulldogs came in the fourth inning as Madrid posted six runs, the most given up by Van Meter pitching in a single inning this season. A few past balls and two of four Bulldog errors helped the host Tigers strike a 6-2 lead all the way until the sixth inning. That’s when the Bulldog offense captured six runs of their own, effectively taking back the lead and eventually the game victory.
On the mound, Kolby Booge kicked off the action but it was the collective efforts from four Van Meter pitchers that helped seal the win. Jack Pettit went longer on the mound with just under four innings pitched, not allowing a single earned run, and striking out three batters. Incoming junior Chris Schreck added in over two innings to the cause and struck out a trio of batters himself.
The pair of wins now provides the Bulldogs with a 12-0-1 record as they head into the week finale on Friday, July 3 against Bondurant-Farrar.