Woodward-Granger baseball edged out in final innings of semifinals

Sean Cordy, Correspondent
Special to the Chief
Hawks players meet outside of the dugout during a regional game against ACGC on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, in Van Meter.

Through the first 34 games of the season, Van Meter (35-0) had trailed heading into the bottom of the fifth inning two times. They’d win those two games over North Polk and Carlisle by immediately taking the go-ahead lead before the sixth inning. And that same story was told a third time on Saturday in a 7-3 win over Woodward-Granger.

Through two innings, the Hawks were able to tie the game 2-2 and after another run scored in the fifth inning, the Hawks entered rarified air as one of the few teams to hold a lead over the defending state champs. Unfortunately, games don’t stop there and the Bulldogs put up five unanswered runs in the bottom of the fifth. Individual stats for Saturday’s game were not available.

As consolation, the Hawks became the only team to lose to the Bulldogs by a margin of four or fewer runs twice this season. Only four other teams were able to keep the margin that close. By comparison, their average margin of victory this year was 9.3 runs.

Additionally, in the three games the Hawks faced the undefeated Bulldogs, Woodward scored three or more runs on two occasions. Only 14 other programs were able to score at least three runs this year against Van Meter. This whole season, teams were more likely to go scoreless or only post one run. That happened 18 times against Van Meter this season.