If you play baseball at BGM and get on base, you’re going to run. Then you’re probably going to run some more.
Then some more.
The Bears lead the state in stolen bases with 205, an astounding average of 10 per game. That’s even a smidge lower pace than last season, when BGM stole 332 bases in 30 games.
The old run-happy St. Louis Cardinals clubs of the 1980s are going “Dang, these guys steal a lot of bags.”
“We live and die with it,” said BGM coach Jerod Burns. “We think we have enough players who are good hitters. If they get on base, we figure we’re going to score more runs by pushing the envelope, by being aggressive.”
It’s not just the volume that’s impressive here, it’s the success ratio. BGM base stealers were thrown out only 15 times last season and 12 so far this season.
The Bears were 18-2 going into their game Thursday night against Highland. A showdown for first place in the South Iowa Cedar League comes Friday night against North Mahaska.
“Our kids know good situations to run in,” said Burns, in his eighth season. “We have the times (to home plate) of all the pitchers. There is a lot of strategy involved with it. This is the way I was taught to play, the way I played in college.”
Senior Nate Beck is the top base thief with 42 in 44 attempts. The only other senior on the team is Blake Jack, and he’s 23 of 25.
Junior Kyle Gritsch is a perfect 30 for 30, junior Jack Kline 37 for 38, sophomore Mayson Sherwood 25 of 26.
Burns admits the rampant running is a lot tougher when there’s a good opposing catcher behind the plate or an opposing pitcher with a good pickoff move. That’s what BGM ran into last season in a Class 1A substate final loss to North Tama.
But, honestly, those types of guys are few and far between at the prep level, particularly in the smaller classes. So why not run all you can?
“I just don’t like sitting around and waiting for a three-run home run,” Burns said. “That’s a style of baseball I don’t believe in. I like putting pressure on the defense.”
This and that
- As we hit the home stretch, these teams are in first place in their respective conferences or conference divisions include:
Iowa City West (MVC Mississippi Division), Cedar Rapids Prairie (MVC Valley Division), Wilton (Cedar Valley), Waverly-Shell Rock (Northeast Iowa), Cascade (Tri-Rivers) and Lansing Kee (Upper Iowa).
- Syd George of English Valleys had eight RBIs in a game last week at Montezuma. A week earlier, Montezuma’s Zach Gibson had seven RBIs in a game at English Valleys. Needless to say, the teams split those games.
- Iowa football recruit Josey Jewell of Decorah is hitting . 391 and is 7-3 as a pitcher.