DES MOINES — If you haven’t noticed the work Ian Holmgaard has done this season, it’s time to catch up. The same goes for Matthew Fitzsimmons.
The pair of juniors have been mainstays in the Newman Catholic lineup this season, and when their names were called Friday in the Knights’ Class 1A state quarterfinal game, both delivered.
“Like I’ve said, we can’t make a run without those guys,” Newman coach Alex Bohl said. “We need them in our lineup, we need them to produce and we expect them to produce. They just showed what they were capable of. I’m not surprised one bit that they stepped up in this moment.”
Holmgaard had himself a day at the plate hitting out of the No. 9 spot in the Newman order.
The speedy junior helped to spark the Knights’ to their first run in the bottom of the third when he put himself on with a leadoff single, and was knocked in by Evan Paulus, and in the Knights’ nine-run fifth, Holmgaard had an RBI single.
He finished the game 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Holmgaard is now batting .318 for the year and has scored 47 runs, which is fourth on the team.
“Basically my approach is just get on base, no matter what that is,” he said. “Whether it’s get on through a bunt, through a walk, hit-by-pitch, or whatever it is, just get on base and let the top of the order use their power to hit me in.”
Added Bohl, “He’s just going to battle and compete, and he showed that (Friday) and we’re going to count on him to do that Thursday.”
Fitzsimmons’ story from Friday goes a bit differently.
With runners on first and third in the top of the first for CAM, the runner on first attempted to steal second and Fitzsimmons’ throw to second sailed into center field and both runners scored on the play after another error. It’s how he bounced back from it that’s most impressive.
“We talk a lot about flushing stuff, but I kind of think about and understand what went wrong there and how I can get better on the next one,” he said.
It was the only slip up of the game for the second-year starter.
Fitzsimmons added a nice day at the plate as well with a 2-for-3 performance and was walked once.
“This is huge,” Fitzsimmons said of his performance. “I expect to do well every game and I think that helps, so if you go up there expecting to hit, it’ll happen for you.”