MARION - As the prep volleyball season nears the midway point, Cedar Rapids Xavier identified a vital ingredient if the Saints are to retain their No. 1 ranking in Class 4A.
Now is the time to turn up the defense.
The top-ranked Saints s ... »
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Summer baseball just wouldn’t be the same without Cascade and Dyersville Beckman playing a game with high stakes.
Their postseason paths cross yet again and a state berth is on the line for the third straight season.
Sixth-ranked Cascade and No. 7 Dyersville Beckman will face off in the Class 2A Substate 4 final Tuesday night at Manchester. Sixteen teams in both 1A and 2A will attempt to reach the state baseball tournament that begins Friday at Principal Park in Des Moines.
The two baseball powers represent and continue the area’s deep tradition.
“It’s something people expect Cascade and Dyersville Beckman to meet,” Cascade Coach Roamn Hummel said. “It says a lot about what baseball is like in Dubuque County.
“Baseball is important around here and it’s something that’s fun to watch.”
The rivals have played the last four postseasons, the last three in substate play and the year before in a district final. They have split the last two years with Cascade making the 2015 state tournament and Beckman returning a year ago.
The Cougars (25-7) are ready for the challenge, advancing with 10-0 shutouts in district games against Camanche and Northeast.
“Our guys are hungry,” Hummel said. “We were on the same stage last year and didn’t get a win.”
Cascade opened the season with a deep roster and strong returning cast, including Bryce Simon, Gannon O’Brien, Blake Simon and Brock Simon. They faced ups and downs with their defense but have ironed out the wrinkles of the regular season. The Cougars have swung the bat well but it’s their pitching and work in the field that has powered them.
Cascade owns a team earned-run average of 2.49 and has limited the opposition to a .166 batting average.
“Finally, at this point of the season we have it figured it out,” Hummel said about his defense. “We’ve been extremely good on the mound.”
Cascade topped Beckman, 7-4, at home in June. Hummel said they will need timely hits and avoid allowing free bases to the Blazers.
“The key is we’ll have to be patient,” Hummel said. “We haven’t gotten ourselves out the last two games.
“Dyersville Beckman is very opportunistic. They have speed.
Beckman (28-11) won its 26th district title with a 5-2 win over Monticello on Saturday. The Blazers are looking for their fifth state berth in the last six years and 18th overall. They have won eight straight games, but know a tough task is ahead.
“We’re going to have to go through a tough team,” Beckman junior C.J. McDermott said. “We play them like every year. The same with Monticello. Every year it’s a good battle between us, Monticello and Cascade. We’re just going to have to do what we do every year and hope for the best.”
In other 2A action, ninth-ranked Iowa City Regina (26-7) will face No. 3 Wilton (26-6) at Solon.
Class 1A top-ranked North Linn (40-2) will attempt to earn its second state berth in three seasons. The Lynx play Iowa Mennonite (14-9) at Cedar Rapids Prairie.
Sixth-ranked Lisbon (30-5) faces Burlington Notre Dame (16-7) in a 1A substate final at Washington, Iowa. The Lions have been to the state baseball tournament five times with the last appearance in 2012.
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