DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) — Sophomore Zach Pleggenkuhle struck out 17 and allowed just two hits as second-seeed Van Meter defeated sixth-seeded West Sioux 3-0 in the Class 2A semifinals Thursday at Principal Park. The Bulldogs (33-3) advance to the 2A championship game on Saturday, when they will seek to add to the 1A state title they won in 2003.
After a ground out to start the game, Pleggenkuhle (7-1) retired the next 13 via strikeout. West Sioux broke up the no-hitter in the fifth inning with two-out back-to-back singles, and then a walk loaded the bases before a pop fly ended the inning.
Van Meter scored in the second on a single by Spencer Lamb, two walks, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. It was 2-0 in the third after a walk, stolen base and an RBI single by Brett Berg. The Bulldogs scored in the sixth for a 3-0 edge on a single by Berg, a sac bunt and an RBI single by Jacob Blomgren.
The 17 strikeouts by Pleggenkuhle are tied for the third-most in state tournament history. Tom Mullen of Davenport Central (22; 1976), Eric Wordekemper of Storm Lake St. Mary’s (18; 2002) and Cal Eldred of Urbana (17; 1986) top the list.
“He was tough,” said West Sioux Head Coach Brian Engleman. “We kept asking the kids, what’s going on? They said the ball’s moving a lot coach and it’s hard to pick up. That’s what’s going on. They’ve been battling all year so I trust my kids. They went to the plate and had some good at-bats but we couldn’t put the ball in play. The kid had some good pitches.”
West Sioux pitcher Seth Salker allowed just three hits in 5 innings. Reliever Hunter Dekkers gave up one hit in one inning. West Sioux ends at 22-6.