Wed Jul 20 08:07am EDT
The Martensdale-St. Marys (Iowa) High baseball team entered Tuesday night's game against Twin Cedars-Bussey (Iowa) High as a mystery program on the national scene. That will never be true again after the Blue Devils knocked off Twin Cedars-Bussey High, 10-0, in a shortened six-inning game.
According to the Associated Press and a variety of other sources, the victory was Martensdale-St. Marys' 84th straight victory, a mark which set a national record. The 84 straight victories is one more than Portsmouth (N.H.) High recorded earlier this spring en route to a New Hampshire state title. In total, Portsmouth's reign as consecutive victories champion lasted less than three months (though it could regain that title next season since it is at 83 straight victories and counting).
Martensdale-St. Marys isn't done yet, either. Tuesday's victory ensured that the Blue Devils would play at the Iowa state tournament, competing in the state's 1A classification, which is its smallest.
"It means that we've done something that nobody else has ever done," Martensdale-St. Marys coach Justin Dehmer told the AP. "It's pretty special. Our guys are well aware of what we just did. I know there will be a celebration tonight and we're going to be all excited. But we know we've got business to take care of."
The MSM winning streak started when the Devils went undefeated en route to the state title in 2010 and has only picked up steam since then. The AP reported that no high school team has even come within a run of the Blue Devils in the entire 2011 season, as the team has put up almost terrifying offensive statistics.
Just take a look at MSM's offensive arsenal from the 2011 season:
Martensdale-St. Marys entered Tuesday night's game putting up mind-boggling stats. The Blue Devils were batting .405, with an on-base percentage of .519, a slugging percentage of .672 and 420 runs in 40 games. They'd hit 53 home runs, 99 doubles and stole 96 bases in 102 attempts.
By contrast, their opponents were hitting .153 and had struck out 340 times in 40 games.
Needless to say, those numbers tend to put the Blue Devils in a position to challenge for a win in each game, victories which have seemed virtual certainties. Yet the team knows it may finally get a more stern test in the coming week at the state tournament.
"We're extremely talented. We definitely have a lot of really good baseball players who have a lot of experience coming into the season. But the biggest thing, and the most important thing, is just our mental approach to the game," Dehmer told the AP. "We just try our best to play one pitch at a time. I know it sounds pretty cliche, but there's a lot that goes into playing one pitch at a time."