The defense and pitching of the Pella High baseball team certainly gave them a chance at knocking off top-seeded Dallas Center-Grimes in Wednesday night’s Class 3A Substate Final, but hits were few and far between and the Mustangs methodically worked their way to a 4-0 victory.
After a quick pair of runs by Dallas Center-Grimes in the first inning, Pella pitcher Jacob Gleason began to find his rhythm; but his counterpart – the Mustangs’ Tyler Peyton – was simply dominant early on. Peyton faced the minimum three batters through the first three innings before surrendering his first hit of the night in the fourth inning. The best chance for the Little Dutch to score came in the bottom of the fifth inning – as they had runners on second and third with two outs – but Peyton fired a called third strike on a full count pitch to Aaron Tysseling and neutralized the threat.
Pella High head coach Al Vasher said those types of scenarios proved to be the difference in the game.
“We had to do a better job taking advantage of our opportunities – and we just didn’t do that. [Dallas Center-Grimes] did a better job of that. They had guys on base, would drive a couple of runs in, and in a game like this – with two pitchers like we had on the mound – you don’t need a ton of runs. You only need one or two,” said Vasher. “I’m proud of our kids. I thought we competed well tonight. We just ran into a team that was better than us – that’s it.”
Pella wasn’t completely without offensive success, though, as catcher Daniel Langenfeld reached base on an error and two singles to finish with half of Pella’s total hits on the night. The defense, meanwhile, was near perfect – committing no errors and following Gleason’s lead. The junior hurler finished the night pitching all seven innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and five walks; while striking out seven Mustang batters. Dallas Center-Grimes rode the arm of Peyton the entire game as well, as he rung up eleven strikeouts and allowed just one walk.
The 4-0 loss marked the end of an exciting postseason run for Pella, which saw the Little Dutch win back-to-back one-run games in the District Tournament to come within a win of reaching the State Tournament. Vasher said some perspective should help the players and fans realize how much was accomplished in the postseason.
“I think we’ll look back at it and say it was a successful postseason and a successful season overall,” added Vasher. “I think our kids grew as young men. I think they grew as baseball players, and for me, that’s successful.”
The loss ends the season for the Pella High baseball team at 19-17, matching their win total from a season ago.