You don't have to be a .400 hitter or an ace pitcher to be a big part of a baseball team. Most great teams are boosted by the last few guys on the bench.
Nowhere is that more apparent than with the Alleman baseball team. Two seniors, who spend most of every game on the bench, have spearheaded the Pioneers to a 26-13 record and a berth into tonight's Class 2A Augustana super-Sectional.
Anthony Glancey, a standout football player for the Pioneers, has been used mainly as Alleman's top pinch-hitter. His two-run single in the top of the seventh on Saturday's 2A Byron sectional beat defending state champion Hall 8-7.
"I think we are all team-first people," Glancey said. "Coach (Jerry Burkhead) told me right away that I was going to be our pinch hitter and that I was going to win us a game in the regional, sectional, super-sectional or at state. I'm glad it came in the sectional."
Max Bowling is a relief pitcher who saw limited action this season. Burkhead calls Bowling another member of the coaching staff and a great help as the team's bullpen catcher.
"I think both 'Bubba' (Glancey) and I knew from the start what our role was going to be," Bowling said. "Everyone wants to play, especially as a senior, but that's not the way the cards fell. I struggled at times and that kept me from being locked in."
While it is fellow seniors Jono Berry, Sam Mattecheck and Chase VanDerGinst who are often in the headlines for the Pioneers, Bowling and Glancey are equally as important.
They are among the biggest cheerleaders in the dugout. Glancey can be seen in front of everyone trying to keep his teammates fired up. On Saturday, he was the one who had everyone cheering for him.
"That was really rewarding to see Anthony get that hit," Burkhead said. "To have us talk about it the day before and him to do it (Saturday) is amazing."
It was not the easiest situation Glancey has ever been in, but he got the job done with a hit past the third baseman to score two runs.
"It is always difficult to watch the game until the sixth or seventh and have to take a big at-bat," he said. "The key is to just calm down and breathe. I swung at the first pitch, which was a curve, and fouled it off. I was looking fastball on the second pitch but ready to adjust to the breaking ball.
"He threw the curve and I barreled it pretty good, so I was pretty sure it was going through. I knew Zach Carpita was home from third to tie it and expected Tyler Estes would score from second. I was celebrating with coach Robby Burkhead at first and didn't see the plate at the plate until I saw how close it was on TV."
Bowling is one of those guys who just loves the game, whether he is on the mound or in the bullpen helping the rest of the pitching staff.
"I know my role, and that is leadership in the bullpen," he said. "I help the guys watching pitches and what we can use and how we can attack hitters. That's a role I like because I think I have a good understanding of the game."
Burkhead loves having him around in any situation.
"He got a win on the mound this season," Burkhead said. "He is the consummate professional. Anything we need, he is willing to do to help the team. He is a rally guy in the dugout and part of that senior group that I told the five of them that they will take us as far as we go."