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IOWA CITY — Tom Jenk Jr. stood just outside the third-base dugout, encircled by a smiling bunch of Dyersville Beckman Blazers, and happily exchanged hugs, handshakes and pats on the back.
Clearly this was a victory that distinguished itself from the 999 before it.
Jenk became the fifth Iowa prep baseball coach — and second in two days — to reach the 1,000-victory milestone after guiding Class 2A No. 3 Beckman to a 5-0 victory over Clear Creek Amana in the first game of a Wamac Conference doubleheader last night at Duane Banks Field.
“It was never a goal of mine to win 1,000 games when I got into this, obviously,” said Jenk, 61. “But as things started going around and our fans and everybody (kept bringing it up), it was important to them — then it became important to me.”
Dubuque Wahlert Coach Jerry Roling achieved the milestone Wednesday against Cedar Rapids Prairie.
Jenk tacked on No. 1,001 when Beckman rolled in the second game, 9-2. Both games were moved to the University of Iowa diamond after rain resulted in unplayable conditions at Clear Creek Amana.
“We feel very fortunate that Clear Creek Amana gave us the opportunity to play down here,” Jenk said. “I want to thank them for that.”
Junior Conner Klostermann was stellar on the mound in the opener for Beckman (21-8), tossing a three-hit shutout and helping his cause with an RBI double and scoring in a three-run first inning.
“It felt good to get on the board right away,” Klostermann said. “Give myself some run support. After that, I had confidence in myself to shut them out and I think we did the job today.”
Nile Rourke had a two-run double in the nightcap for Clear Creek Amana (15-13).
While Jenk was quick to credit all players and assistant coaches along the way, the night was about celebrating his significant achievement during a 40-season career (1,001-455) — all at Beckman — that includes four state championships and six runner-up finishes.
“I wasn’t even going to be a coach anyway,” Jenk said with a laugh. “I was going to be a lawyer.”
But he did coach and he stuck with it because of good people in a good community.
“Not the bus rides, that’s for sure,” Jenk said. “I love the game. The kids like to play, they play hard, (and) they’re never a discipline problem. They’re class acts; they come from good families. Makes my job easy.”
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