Kyle Kubiak got a chance to audition for a spot in the starting rotation last season.
This season, he’s showing he’s there to stay.
The Waukee right-hander tossed a complete game as the No. 4 Warriors defeated Des Moines East 8-3 during the Indianola Invite on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m just trying to throw strikes and get wins for the team,” Kubiak said.
Kubiak started a pair of games for the Waukee varsity last season, posting an 0-1 record with a 4.90 ERA.
“I felt like I had to win games since I was younger,” he said. “It was something where I was just nervous the whole entire time, where now I’m just pitching and not thinking as much.”
So far, it’s working. In his first start this season, Kubiak struck out five and pitched into the sixth before getting a no-decision.
On Saturday, the junior scattered seven hits and allowed just three runs, all in the seventh, to earn his first win of the season.
“He came out and threw strikes,” Waukee first-year coach Dave Dirkx said. “That was huge.”
Waukee, which failed to get a hit off East’s Blake Cunningham through the first three innings, got to him in the fourth.
Nick Franklin put Waukee (15-5) ahead 1-0 when he launched a home run to center field. The Warriors added four more runs in the inning.
Kubiak ended East’s last chance, stranding the bases loaded to end the game.
Brandon Potts finished 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs for the Warriors,
The Warriors (15-5) lost to Indianola later in the round-robin tournament.
Still, excitement continues to grow around the program that finished 18-22 a season ago and is now in contention for a conference crown. Dirkx said even his expectations have grown.
“I think they’ve changed for the kids, too. I think he’s going to be a huge part of the team,” Dirkx said of Kubiak.