The Pleasant Valley Spartans entered this season after making an incredible run to state last year and with a lot of players returning they cruised through the regular season and opened the playoffs with a bang by defeating Cedar Rapids Jefferson 11-0 on Friday.
Eleven runs scored. 10 hits. And a shutout. That was the winning formula for the Pleasant Valley Spartans as they opened up postseason play with an 11-0 win over Cedar Rapids Jefferson. The Spartans offense fed off each other as they scored in each inning, but one of the keys for the offense was leadoff man Barrett Lindmark setting the table.
“My goal is to get on base and set the tone early whether that’s a hit by pitch or get a hit. It’s just to get on base and get us a run.,” said Lindmark.
Lindmark drove in three runs and also crossed the plate three times to lead the offense, but one of the most crucial things at the plate was hitting with men in scoring position. Third baseman Alex Clemons has been an RBI machine all season with 33 runs batted in and as expected, he came through in big spots.
“My mentality at the plate is to just hit the ball hard and tonight I went two for three with two scoring doubles and I was sitting fastball and reacting off-speed,” said Clemons.
Clemons broke the game open in the third inning with a bases clearing double that put the Spartans up by nine. PV’s plate approach all season has been get on, get them over, and get them in.
“Guys were trying to look for their pitch and that’s what we were able to do. It happened to be there, some early in counts. We got runners on and took what they gave us and then obviously had a few big hits there to push us across a little bit more,” said Head Coach Derek Stecklein.
It was a real team win for the Spartans and they were led by senior pitcher Seth Clausen who pitched four shutout innings and also had a pair of RBIs. Clausen says early on he wanted to be aggressive and attack hitters.
“I struggled with command early so it was kind of hard to mix that curveball in there early, but as the game went on I kind of settled back in and got the fastball going early which allowed me to mix in the curveball,” Clausen said.
Stecklein was proud of his team’s effort in the win, but he says in the postseason you can’t get too comfortable because everybody’s record is 0-0 heading into each game.
“It feels good no doubt, but at this point now this one’s over with and we’ll get back to practice here and get ready for Wednesday,” Stecklein said.
Up next for the Spartans will be the sub-state final where they will take on the winner of Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Linn Mar, who face off tomorrow.