Van Meter baseball prepares for state tournament

Megan Teske, Correspondent
Special to Dallas County News
The Van Meter Bulldogs are moving on to the state tournament after taking down Alta-Aurelia on Tuesday, July 20.

The Van Meter baseball team is heading back to the state tournament after taking down Alta-Aurelia 11-0 during the substate championship on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs had a strong week of wins to get to the substate championship, first taking down Southeast Valley before they went on to defeat ACGC.

Van Meter started its substate run against Southeast Valley on July 13, winning 11-1.

Against an unfamiliar opponent, head coach Eben Baumhover said the team had to come out and play their best and respect everyone they see, because if you don’t, you could go home.

“Fortunately for us, we had a quality start out of one of our starters Ganon Archer and our bats kinda came alive a little bit,” Baumhover said.

Ganon Archer waits for the pitch during a game against ACGC on Saturday, July 17 in Van Meter.

After defeating Southeast Valley, the Bulldogs moved on to take down ACGC on July 17, winning 11-3.

Baumhover said the Bulldogs’ pitcher was a little rusty to start the game having not thrown in a couple weeks and ACGC took advantage of that by getting three runs, but Van Meter bounced back on offense.

Despite having played ACGC already this season, Baumhover said he was more focused on what Van Meter could do. 

One thing the Bulldogs has done well recently has been staying consistent at the plate, which Baumhover said is due to their good approaches.

“I don’t think we’re trying to do more than we have to at the plate, and that takes a lot of stress off the batters,” Baumhover said.

Zach Pleggenkuhle throws a pitch during a game against ACGC on Saturday, July 17 in Van Meter.

He added that the team having confidence in each other has helped and Van Meter has been harder to strike out as well, resulting in higher pitch counts for opposing pitchers.

Van Meter then turned its attention to Alta-Aurelia, winning 11-0 in Fort Dodge. Before the substate championship, Baumhover said he was relying on the senior and junior leadership, as they have been in this situation before.

“Those guys are the calm within the storm… we lean on those guys but at the same time they’re pulling four, five underclassmen, sophomores, freshmen along with them and those younger kids feed off of what those older guys are doing,” Baumhover said.

To prepare for the state tournament, Baumhover is going back to the basics, focusing on the fundamentals and some defensive skills.

Carter Durflinger runs to first base during a game against ACGC on Saturday, July 17 in Van Meter.

He added that they’re not overthinking it and just getting out there to keep the players primed and ready to play.

With the regular season now in the rearview, Baumhover said he is proud of the attitude and effort the players brought forth every day given the grind of the long season.

“The young kids, they really stepped in and have done a fine job and contributed a lot to the success that we’ve had and we hope to continue to have,” Baumhover said. “Our upperclassmen, they’ve been great examples of how to handle it and how to battle through some of the adversity that we’ve had.”

Van Meter will now move on to the state tournament in a new location at Merchants Park in Carroll.

Jack Pettit keeps an eye on the action during a game against ACGC on Saturday, July 17 in Van Meter.