Instead of dreading a slipup, coach Charlie Eastlund wants his Boone baseball team to focus on its resiliency.
“Just knowing we’ve battled from behind before,” Eastlund explained. “Knowing that because of the tough games we’ve played before, don’t count us out.
“We’ll come back.”
Emotions can shift quickly during the postseason, and if the Toreadors want to make a deep run in the Class 3-A Distircts they’ll have to remain steady.
“Just coming in and really not doing anything different than we’ve done all year,” Eastlund said. “Pitch well, defend, get guys on, move them over, score them.
“Those are the things we have to do well to win.”
The first tournament test comes Friday, when Boone hosts Iowa Falls-Alden. Winner advances to meet Gilbert or Algona in a Mondaysemifinal.
“You just have to respect the game,” Eastlund said, “come out and make every single pitch that’s thrown important.”
Iowa Falls dropped to 6-18 this season – including a 9-0 loss to Boone on June 12 – after losing to Humboldt on Monday.
It was the Cadets’ seven straight defeat, but baseball can be fluky.
“You have to be on guard all the time,” Eastlund said. “Just because a team did not have a great regular season doesn’t mean that they can’t come out and play well on one night.”
That leads to a sense of urgency.
“You can’t have an off night,” Eastlund said. “You can have a really nice season… but if you have an off night it can all be over just like that.”
The Toreadors began Tuesday with a 21-7 record, with a final regular-season game remaining against Norwalk.
“I’ve been really pleased with our season,” Eastlund said. “Our guys have played well throughout, pretty consistent baseball.”
Evan Appenzeller owned a 6-3 pitching record with a 3.22 earned-run average. Spencer Wilkening was 5-1 with a 2.00 ERA.
Appenzeller paced the Boone offense with a .417 batting average and eight home runs. Jayton Hull carried a .325 average and an on-base percentage of .427 (having been hit by a pitch 10 times).
Dresden Wilson was batting .330. He and Appenzeller had both driven in 26 runs.
“We’ve had good pitching. Our defense has come around since the beginning of the year,” Eastlund said. “And we’ve hit the ball well all year.
“We’re playing good ball coming into things.”
Add it all up, and the Toreadors are a favorite to challenge for the District title.
“I think the seeding could have gone a lot of different ways,” Eastlund said. “It was a pretty civil, quick meeting.
“There’s a lot of similarities between teams and a lot of similar records.”
Gilbert owned a 16-13 record early this week. Algona was 17-14.
Regardless of who and how events unfold, Eastlund hopes to keep Boone in the right frame of mind.
“Making sure that if things don’t go well early on, it’s a long game and there’s still opportunities out there to get runs back,” he said. “Not to get tight, because it is an elimination game.”