by Lucas Treat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Des Moines, IA - Junior pitcher Brandon Brittain smacked two hits and drove in two runs to lead third-ranked Van Meter past Remsen St. Mary's 6-4 in the first of two Class 1A quarterfinal games Saturday night at Principal Park.
Brittain, the team's leading hitter (.566), highlighted a three-run third inning to put the Bulldogs up 4-0. One of three Van Meter pitchers on the evening, the right-hander (9-1) recorded the win, allowing no earned runs while striking out four batters in the final three innings.
Down early, St. Mary's picked up two runs in the bottom of the third and would add two more two innings later, tying the game in the bottom of the fifth at 4-4.
Senior third-baseman Nate Roder led the Hawks with a two-run single, with catcher Brady Harpenau and centerfielder Tyler Delperdang each collecting an RBI.
In the sixth, Van Meter scored two runs on no hits and four errors — including two throwing errors on one play that pushed across the go-ahead run.
Making their first state appearance since winning the Class 1A state title in 2003, head coach Eric Trudo and the second-seeded Bulldogs (34-8) kept their hopes alive of winning another state title. They will play the winner of Saturday night's final game between third-seeded Van Buren (24-5) and sixth-seeded Don Bosco (28-6) in the semifinals next Thursday at 2 p.m.
Matt Wesselmann (9-3) went the distance for the Hawks, striking out nine. St. Mary's ends the season at 25-9.