Chargers' Season Ends With 11-3 Loss in District Final
What started out as a potential dream come true quickly became a nightmare for the ACGC baseball team on Saturday. The Chargers scored three runs on three hits to open the district final versus Van Meter, only to have the Bulldogs score seven runs in the bottom half of the initial inning.
The defending state champions appeared to be on a mission to repeat that feat, as they shut out the Chargers over the final six innings to take an 11-3 win into the "game to go" to the state tournament. Van Meter advances to the sub state game to play Alta-Aurelia on Tuesday.
ACGC came ready to play with its quick start. Newell Rogers infield hit with one out got things started. After a second out was recorded on a pop fly, Cayden Jensen coaxed a base on balls to put runners on first and second.
Reid Rumelhart's single to left field scored Rogers and Charlie Crawford followed up with a double to plate both Jensen and Rumelhart to give the visitors a 3-0 lead. The lead was short lived, as the first seven Bulldog batters all scored to take a 7-3 lead after the first inning. They added two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to reach the 11-3 final.
Van Meter pitcher Zach Pleggenkuhle shut down the Chargers after the opening frame, with Charlie Crawford's seventh inning single being the only ACGC hit the rest of the game.
"We started out hot and took a three to nothing lead in the top half of the first inning, but Van Meter hit themselves ahead in the bottom half. They earned it and just hit the ball all over the yard," Charger coach Taylor Morris said following the season ending loss.
"Our guys answered the bell and were able to take the lead right away and that says a lot about our team as Pleggenkuhle is one of the top pitchers in the state. I want to thank my seniors Eli Kading, Newell Rogers, Lucas Marsh and Clayton Wardyn for buying into this program three years ago and believing that a night like tonight was possible (i.e., playing in a district final).
"I told the players coming back that this is the new expectation, and that is to be in the district final or further every year. Charger baseball is in a good spot and we look forward to continue to build our programs all across ACGC athletics."
The Chargers closed the season with thirteen wins and twenty four losses. The thirteen wins represent the most in the five years of ACGC baseball.
Score by inning:
ACGC 300 000 0--3 4 3
VM 700 022 x--11 12 0
ACGC hitting:(AB-R-H-RBI) Littler(3-0-0-0) Rogers(2-1-1-0) MKading(3-0-0-0) Jensen(2-1-0-0) Rumelhart(3-1-1-1) Crawford(3-0-2-2) EKading(3-0-0-0) Marsh(3-0-0-0) Wardyn(2-0-0-0)
Pitching:(IP-H-R-ER-SO-BB) Littler(4.33-10-9-7-1-4) Slaybaugh(0.67-0-0-0-0-0) Wardyn(1.00-2-2-2-1-1)