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Waukee baseball gears up for another postseason push

Andrew Brown - Sports Reporter
Aiden McGee of Waukee striking a hit during a home battle against Ankeny Centennial earlier this season. PHOTO BY ANDREW BROWN/DALLAS COUNTY NEWS

Following a shortened baseball regular season, all eyes within the Class 4A ranks have now turned towards the postseason which begins today.

For the Waukee High School baseball team, that means starting off postseason play at home for the fifth straight season as they take on Marshalltown. The postseason is always a unique beast in itself but in 2020, the postseason will seem like a stark contrast to what the regular season brought. From a doubleheader heavy regular-season schedule, the postseason provides the near opposite and a new plan.

“It changes the way we approach things especially pitching-wise,” began head coach David Dirkx. “We’re not worried about pitch count and we haven’t played for a week. We’re not at that point where we have to save people for a certain day. We’re pretty confident about who we’ll put up there on the mound.”

The mound has been where Waukee has excelled at this season. They will enter the postseason leading the Class 4A world in strikeouts with 205 total strikeouts. They have forced opposing teams to a mere .211 batting average and has been a strong point for Warrior fans to cheer about all season long. It helped the Warriors get through what was arguably one of the more difficult schedules across the entire state, featuring 54 percent of their overall schedule against ranked teams. In seeking paths for advantages throughout the postseason, the regular season pathway for Waukee looks to be just that for Dirkx and company.

“We played a really good schedule,” said Dirkx. “We faced a lot of different pitching from those who threw hard and those who threw not as hard. We’ve seen teams that have and have not run well and I think that bodes well for us in the postseason.”

The pitching company is very strong and includes the strong duo of Jackson Payne and Jackson Wentworth who have combined fo 52 strikeouts this season.

Of course, the seventh-ranked Warriors have held their own against a tough schedule and now enter into their 34th battle with Marshalltown since the 2009 season. Waukee has the overall edge against the Bobcats, 22-11 since 2009 with their recent success being eight wins in the past ten outings. Waukee will look towards offensive leaders like Jacob Barton who paces the team with 22 hits, ten of which have been for extra bases. That also includes senior Jalen Martinez who has tied the team lead with 15 singles on the season. That’s not to mention fellow junior Aiden McGee how paces the WArrior lineup with 15 RBI on the year. All of that will help the Warriors as they look to take advantage of 80 Bobcat errors from the regular season. The Bobcats have suffered 12 errors against the Warriors over the last six contests.

Even with Marshalltown’s inconsistencies, coach Dirkx feels as though that might apply to his team as well.

“We’ve played some really good games this year and then we’ve played some not so good games,” began Dirkx. “I think it’s about finding consistency, it’s one seven-inning game and you can’t worry about anything but what’s going on right now. We need to stay disciplined and not chase at the plate.”

Waukee will be seeking to continue their 2020 season and the next obstacle includes the Bobcats tonight. First pitch will kick off the game beginning at 7 p.m.