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Van Meter's Pleggenkuhle makes collegiate baseball commitment

Andrew Brown
Dallas County News
Zach Pleggenkuhle poses after committing to Buena Vista University for baseball.

The exciting baseball story of Van Meter's Zach Pleggenkuhle now has a new chapter as the high school senior committed to Buena Vista University. 

"I love it, I love the coaches and the family there," Pleggenkuhle said. "I love the atmosphere there with a winning team and a winning program." 

Pleggenkuhle is the third individual in the past week alone to commit to sending their talents to Storm Lake in the future. He joins fellow Van Meter senior Jacob Blomgren as the latest Bulldogs to make a collegiate baseball commitment. 

Pleggenkuhle has become quite the notable name within the Iowa high school baseball scene over the past few years. Over the course of his past 14 innings pitched at the state tournament, Pleggenkuhle accumulated 26 strikeouts while allowing just four hits. That included a 17 strikeout performance in 2019 which marked the third-most strikeouts thrown in an Iowa high school state tournament game. Throughout his high school tenure so far, Pleggenkuhle has totaled 126 strikeouts while averaging less than one earned run and one hit per inning across 96 total innings pitched.

Inside the batters' box, Pleggenkuhle averaged nearly two hits per game across the past three seasons including 22 extra-base hits while suffering less than .5 strikeouts per contest through 99 total games played. Pleggenkuhle totaled 41 walks and has swiped 27 bases so far. 

Zach Pleggenkuhle waits for a pitch during Van Meter’s win over Treynor to start the 2020 state tournament.

Now, all of that work and that production has paid off in a collegiate commitment. It's quite the accomplishment given the fact that Pleggenkuhle had to battle opposing pitchers, opposing batters and everything that COVID-19 had to throw at him. 

"It's good that it's over and I can just focus on baseball," began Pleggenkuhle. "I know it's the right place for me and hopefully I'll be playing with buddies I've played with my whole life. It was stressful at times not being able to visit many places but I'm really happy to find a home." 

Pleggenkuhle will now join a Buena Vista squad fresh off of a 2019 conference tournament title. That year the Beavers totaled 631 stolen bases (sixth-best in program history), 239 RBI (ninth-best in program history) and 467 hits (fifth-best in program history). 

The Beavers program has accumulated five 20-plus win campaigns over the past seven seasons including a pair of 30-plus win marks in 2014 and 2016. It's been an atmosphere of success as Buena Vista University baseball has totaled 16 regular season championships, three conference championships and two college world series appearances. 

"I know I'm going to be part of a winning program which is important to me," Pleggenkuhle said. "How they develop their players for the next level is great. It's a great coaching staff and they have a lot of great athletes who are smart and play the game the right way." 

Van Meter junior Zach Pleggenkuhle during the state semifinal battle against West Lyon in 2019. Andrew Brown/Dallas County News

Pleggenkuhle has been productive in nearly every aspect of baseball, something that has impressed his coaches along the way. 

"Zach is a guy who knows his stuff, knows his talent, and goes out and does his job well," began Van Meter co-head coach Mike Kennedy during the 2020 season. "He plays smart and is always a good teammate. We pride ourselves on a good team atmosphere and Zach is a big part of that." 

For now, as he waits to be a collegiate ballplayer, Pleggenkuhle will enjoy one more season of baseball in Van Meter. 

"Oh I'm extremely excited for this next season," began an excited Pleggenkuhle. "We've got a lot of things in place. We've got the pitching and the fielding. We need to find a little more hitting but we have a great feeder program with a lot of guys ready to play."  

Van Meter's Zach Pleggenkuhle rounding third base Thursday, June 18 in game one of a doubleheader with Woodward-Granger.