Runs were scarce for Pleasant Valley’s baseball team in the first several games of the season. It was blanked twice and held under four runs on three other occasions.
The Spartans have found some electricity in their bats in the past week.
Fresh off 31 runs in a doubleheader sweep over Davenport Central, PV used a 10-run fifth inning in the nightcap Monday night to sweep rival Bettendorf 5-4 and 13-3 to garner sole possession of the Mississippi Athletic Conference lead.
“We’re going up there with a lot more confidence than we did the first couple of weeks,” outfielder Drew Micek said. “We’re making adjustments each at-bat.”
PV and Bettendorf came into the twin bill deadlocked for first place in the league.
Ryan Mumey crushed a two-out double in bottom of the sixth inning to bring in the go-ahead run in the opener. In the nightcap, PV rallied from a 3-0 deficit with two crooked innings.
“I know when our bats get going, they can really heat up,” PV coach Derek Stecklein said. “That’s where we’re at right now. We’re putting good swings on pitches.
“We’ve got a talented group of young guys. They’ve come to work every day and just stayed consistent with us. We knew it was eventually going to come and we’re starting to find our stride now.”
The Spartans were without all-state pitcher and infielder Jack Young, who is out indefinitely.
Sophomores Ryan Groenenboom and Barrett Lindmark picked up the slack on the mound. Groenenboom, in his first varsity start, worked into the sixth inning and yielded just one earned run. Lindmark worked all five innings of Game 2 to collect the win.
“We know whoever we put out there, they’re going to give us everything they can,” Stecklein said. “We had some guys with different opportunities tonight and they were able to take advantage.”
After PV (8-5, 8-2 MAC) snared a 5-4 lead in the opener, Bettendorf loaded the bases with one out against Minnesota recruit Seth Clausen in the seventh. Clausen, however, recorded a strikeout and fly out to secure the win.
The Spartans scored three of their runs in the opener with two outs.
Bettendorf (7-4, 6-4) managed to have 16 hits in the doubleheader. Ashton Westphall had two hits in each game.
“In baseball, it is easy to get things rolling the wrong way sometimes,” Bettendorf coach Blake Hanna said. “PV kept on coming and they’re a good team. It was a learning experience for our team, but I’m proud of the way we battled in that first game.
“Our kids are down a little bit right now, but this doesn’t define our season. We’ll get better tomorrow.”
Westphall needed just 29 pitches to get through the first three innings in Game 2.
“After the third inning, our coach called a meeting and just said, ‘Let’s make adjustments,’” Micek said. “That’s what we do. We started to sit on the curveball."
Alex Clemons, Mumey, Micek and Jose Lara, who had missed the last several games with injury, all had two hits for the Spartans in the nightcap. PV sent 14 hitters to the plate in the 10-run fifth, including a two-run single from Carson Albrecht to end the game by run rule.
“That was a big win for us,” Mumey said. “(Bettendorf) is a good team. This puts us at the top of the conference.
“We’re starting to barrel balls up and they’re starting to fall for us now.”
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