Aggies calm, focused ahead of state title run
It’s been three years since Velva-Drake-Anamoose last made an appearance at the Class B state tournament; four years since its last championship.
The Aggies have already put an end to one of those streaks following a Region 6 tournament title on May 20. Now, they’re three wins away from ending their other drought.
Their state tournament run begins 6:30 p.m. today against Region 5 champion Harvey-Wells County, to be played at Cushman Field in Jamestown.
At this stage of the season, teams understand the importance of taking things game by game, pitch by pitch. V-D-A coach Matt Weidler, recently named region coach of the year, plans to take that very approach this weekend.
“We’re really trying to do things the same way we have all year,” Weidler said. “You can’t win three games in a row until you win the first one, and since we got done last week, all we’ve really talked about is that first game on Thursday.”
But that isn’t to say the Aggies aren’t in it to win it. They are.
“You can’t go into a state tournament lacking in confidence. That’s for sure,” V-D-A senior Drew Effertz said. “We’re all really excited. Everyone is pumped up, and I think we can do some good things. It’s just like every team thinks. I think we can go all the way.”
The left-handed Effertz has been an influential performer for V-D-A all season, particularly from the mound. His five wins lead the Aggies, as do his totals for strikeouts (39) and innings pitched (27).
Brady Engebretson is another southpaw who has produced quality innings for the Aggies. He leads the team in ERA at 0.30.
The V-D-A staff led by starters Effertz, Engebretson and senior righty Brad Dean has combined for a 1.56 ERA over 130 innings this season.
“Before the season, you have your short-term and long-term goals, and one of our long-term goals was to win a state championship,” Weidler said. “In the back of their minds, our guys know what the prize is at the end of the rainbow, but we’re hopefully that mentality of one game at a time, play loose and make the plays.”