116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
VINTON — Vinton-Shellsburg Coach Jim Struve has stockpiled wins since he took over the baseball program 25 years ago.
On the verge of a milestone, Struve and the Vikings settled for a split with Mother Nature.
With Struve needing two wins to reach 600 career victories, his Class 3A third-ranked Vikings managed a 12-2 victory in five innings over Anamosa at home Wednesday. Rain prevented him from reaching the milestone, postponing the second game of the Wamac doubleheader to Thursday.
The Vikings squeezed in the final 1 2/3 innings of the first game, following about a 40-minute delay, to secure Struve's 599th career victory. Sheets of rain, and even hail, hit during the regular break between contests. It just prolonged the inevitable, as Struve looks to become one of just 16 current Iowa prep baseball coaches to reach that win plateau.
'It means I've been coaching for quite a while,' Struve said with a laugh. 'I've been truly blessed with fantastic players, some really good players and guys who have been committed and dedicated themselves to the program.
'Secondly, I've had some really good assistant coaches. A couple coaches went on to coach collegiately, and I can't say enough about their commitment to the program as well.'
Any celebration was put on hold, but is expected sooner more than later. Struve has accomplished plenty already at his alma mater, serving as an assistant for his first five seasons on staff. Struve replaced head coach Gordy Nordgren and has continued to lead the program he played for as a prep.
Struve has led the Vikings to four state tournaments, winning the 1998 3A title.
'I've been a Viking my entire life,' Struve said. 'It really means a lot. This is home. I'm very passionate about trying to keep the program alive and make it successful. More importantly, the kids really enjoy their time here. Obviously, with success, it's more enjoyable.'
Struve has had the chance to coach two sons during his tenure. His older son, Carson, played on the 2009 state-qualifying team. Younger son, Nate, is a senior on the current team and played on the 2015 state squad. He is an all-state and all-Wamac performer, who pitches and plays shortstop.
'I've been fortunate and blessed,' Struve said. 'With my two boys, it's been a special opportunity.'
The youngest Struve did his part to help his dad increase his win total. He went 2-for-3, including an RBI double and RBI single in consecutive innings. Wes Edwards, Jared Thompson and Conner Miracle each added two RBIs.
Each starter reached base with all but getting a hit. Wes and Will Edwards led the way with three runs apiece.
The Vikings improved 24-3-1, continuing to batter opposing pitchers. They entered Wednesday night with a .369 batting average while scoring a little more than 9 ½ runs per game. It didn't take much for them to tally 12 runs in their first three at-bats, sending 10 to the plate in a five-run third.
'Our guys have taken great approaches all year long,' Struve said. 'They really dedicated themselves in the offseason.'
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