CHEROKEE, Iowa -- It was just business as usual on Tuesday for the West Sioux High School baseball team.
Hunter Dekkers threw a one-hit shutout and hit a two-run home run that helped the Falcons (22-5) advance to the state tournament with a 2-0 win over Pocahontas Area in the Class 2A-Substate 1 championship at Kenny Bern Field.
With the win, West Sioux will play Monday in the state tournament at Principal Park in Des Moines.
Dekkers walked off the mound after the game like it was a regular-season win, not one that sends them to the state tournament.
Dekkers struck out 10 Indians hitters, and there was a stretch where he struck out seven in a row against a Pocahontas team ranked 16th in Class 2A with a .326 batting average.
“My approach is the same for every game,” Dekkers said. “I just go in there and throw strikes. My arm was a little sore from a long weekend, but I mean, that’s not an excuse. I thought we executed well.”
Dekkers certainly threw strikes during his 87-pitch appearance.
During his streak of seven straight strikeouts, Dekkers had five consecutive at-bats where he needed four pitches per opponent.
“He’s a student of the game,” West Sioux coach Brian Engleman said. “If he sees a flaw in a kid, he’s going to take advantage of it. Tonight was as good as he’s thrown all year.”
The Indians had just three baserunners in the game. Indians freshman Chase Cook was the lone Indians hitter to get a hit off Dekkers. It was a sharp comeback that one-hopped Dekkers off the thigh.
You have free articles remaining.
It stopped Engleman’s heart for a brief second, but once the Iowa State football recruit let the dugout know he was okay, things went back as usual.
The Indians also forced walks in the fourth and fifth innings. Thomas Melohn earned his in the fourth inning with two outs (he was left stranded) then Trevor Frerk led off the fifth with a walk.
Frerk then advanced to second base on a stolen base, but the Falcons didn’t mind. They had a play they wanted to try.
There’s a certain play call the Falcons came up with last week where if a runner is on second, if Dekkers is comfortable to throw it to the bag, he could with shortstop Blake Van Ballegooyen on the cover.
The Falcons tried out the pick-off play for the first time in a game this season, and it worked. Frerk leaned toward third at Dekkers’ first move, but he was too late getting to the bag.
Van Ballegooyen was there to apply the tag.
“The play before, I looked, and he was way off,” Dekkers said. “I looked off, then I looked at Coach (Engleman). He put the play on, so it worked to perfection. We’ve worked on it quite a bit. I don’t want to get into details, because I don’t want other teams knowing what we do, but we’ve worked on it.”
Frerk was the final baserunner the Indians had all night.
Dekkers’ home run came in the third inning.
“Davidson is a good pitcher,” Engleman said. “He throws hard.”