After downing 4A's top ranked team Ankeny, coupled with a win over Des Moines Roosevelt over the weekend, the Bishop Heelan baseball team has climbed to number one in the new Iowa baseball rankings.
The Crusaders are 24-4 on the season and will be back on the field Tuesday to battle Council Bluff Thomas Jefferson in a doubleheader.
Heelan is currently tied for the most wins in class 3A with 24.
Offensively, the squad ranks second in 3A in runs batted in with 165.
It's the offense that's come as a surprise to Head Coach Andy Osborne.
"We've probably bunted more times this year than I have in the previous five years coaching," Osborne said. "You know, that's just a simple adjustment that we've made. The winning run against Ankeny on Saturday was sent up by a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Cropley who is our cleanup hitter. Generally, you don't bunt with your cleanup hitter, but it was a situation where we knew we needed to try to produce a run. And, trusting the guys lower in the order to come through when we need them."
On the mound the Crusaders have logged the third most innings in the state tossing 196.1 so far this season.
The pitching staff boasts a 2.53 earned run average, which ranks 10th best in class 3A.
It's the eight guys battling along with the pitcher that gives Heelan's hurlers an extra boost of confidence on the mound.
"Very comfortable," senior Tyler Stolen said. "All I have to do is throw strikes and I know that if they put it on the ground, I don't even have to turn around, I know they're going to make the play behind me."
"We came into the season knowing that we had a great group of kids," junior Brady Mayo added. "Looking at our schedule we figured we should be able to beat and play with anyone that we play."
2. Iowa City West
3. WDM Valley
5. DSM East
6. Fort Dodge
7. Dowling Catholic
8. Cedar Rapids Prairie
10.Cedar Rapids Xavier
1. Sioux City Heelan
2. Clear Lake
3. Davenport Assumption
9. Storm Lake
1. Dyersville Beckman
2. North Polk
5. Carroll Kuemper
8. Iowa City Regina
9. Council Bluffs St. Albert
1. Mason City Newman
2. Twin Cedars
3. Van Meter
4. Don Bosco
5. Martensdale-St. Mary's
8. West Lyon
9. Lansing Kee
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