Bulldog baseball downs I-35 in district final

Andrew Brown - Sports Reporter
Van Meter's Jacob Blomgren after striking a hit. PHOTO BY ANDREW BROWN/DALLAS COUNTY NEWS

Efficiency was the name of the game once again for Van Meter baseball Saturday, July 18 as the Bulldogs took down I-35 in the District 12 title game Saturday, July 18.

Van Meter used just seven combined hits to push across those 15 runs but also used the help of ten walks on the night.

The Bulldogs opened up the offense in a hurry, plating seven of their 15 runs in the first inning alone, an inning in which the Bulldogs batted all the way through the lineup. Zach Pleggenkuhle kicked off the action with his sixth double of the season. The junior would cross home plate in an unconventional way following both Anthony Potthoff and Brett Berg being hit by pitch. Jacob Blomgren followed up the scoring action with his 11th RBI of the season. Blomgren also marked the fifth straight batter to reach base safely to start the game for Van Meter. Gannon Archer’s sixth RBI of the year followed by Cody Coffman’s 17th then brought the score to a 4-0 mark. What really broke open the inning for the Bulldogs was Pleggenkuhle’s second at-bat of the inning. Overall, the junior had a night to remember with a season-high five RBI, three of which came on his second of three doubles for the game. That plated the final three runs and gave Van Meter their 7-0 early advantage.

Van Meter took advantage of an I-35 error in the second inning to plate two more runs to bump up their lead to a 9-0 mark before the third inning was underway. When it did turn to the third inning, Pleggenkuhle’s third double of the game was the only hit needed to push across three runs. Pleggenkhule himself cross the plate for the third run of the inning on a wild pitch.

Just when fans thought Van Meter’s offense was done for the game, they went even further to help end the game early with a three-run bottom half of the fourth. That third inning began with Bryce Cole’s 13th hit of the season, capping off a night in which the senior made it safely on base in all three trips to the plate. The scoring efforts were spread out across the Bulldog roster and included Ben Gilliland and Casey Trudo who drove in each of their runs in that fourth inning.

Overall it was efficiency to a T for the Bulldogs who never saw a single at-bat go over six pitches before an event occurred. All told the Bulldogs racked up a batting average of .545 with runners in scoring position.

On the mound, it was another strong day at the office for Pleggenkuhle who helped out his strong offensive night with his second win of the 2020 season. Through three innings pitched, just one Roadrunner batter found themselves on the base paths under Pleggenkhuhles watch. The junior struck out three batters with just one walk allowed giving him 36 strikeouts and just 16 walks overall on the season.

Next up for the Bulldogs following their eighth straight district title will be a shot at their ninth state tournament appearance with the substate final in Oskaloosa on Tuesday, July 21 against Cardinal High School. This will be the first-ever meeting between these two squads and it will begin with first pitch at 7 p.m.