Dyersville Beckman edges Cascade for state baseball berth

Blazers back to Des Moines for 17th appearance after Cougars won substate final last season

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FARLEY – The game was what one might expect.

Two of the top baseball programs locked in a proverbial stare down, waiting on the other to flinch in order to snag a coveted state tournament berth.

Dyersville Beckman capitalized on a pair of costly Cascade miscues and parlayed them into a 17th state tournament berth in school history. The Blazers edged sixth-ranked Cascade, 2-1, in the Class 2A Substate 4 final Tuesday night at Farley Community Park.

“That’s the name of the game,” Beckman Coach Tom Jenk said. “When there are opportunities presented to you, you have to take advantage of them, because when you play a team like Cascade that’s so well-coached and fundamental that if you don’t take advantage of the mistakes then the chances are you might not win the game.”

The Blazers (24-17) stranded 10 runners but solid pitching from starter Riley LeGrand and Connor McDermott, who played the role of closer, allowed them to make two gifts good enough for the victory.

“I expected the first team with three runs would win,” LeGrand said. “We got two so that was good enough for us. We just battled all game and got it done.”

The game was knotted, 1-1, in the bottom of the sixth. Devon Driscoll reached on a walk before Zach Deutmeyer came in to pinch run.

Cascade ace Trace Hoffman fanned the next batter and produced a pop up for two outs, keeping Deutmeyer on first. The attempt for a force out at second on LeGrand’s grounder to shortstop was misplayed, extending the inning.

Joel Vaske walked and then a wild pitch allowed Deutmeyer to come home with the winning run.

The Blazers scored their first run in the second when Driscoll crossed the plate on an errant throw on a LeGrand grounder with two outs.

“They caught a couple of breaks,” Cascade Coach Roamn Hummel said. “Basically, we’re sitting there with two outs and ready to get out of an inning two different times and we don’t make plays. That cost us a run both times.”

Driscoll, who hits seventh, started both run-scoring frames. He reached on a single his first at-bat.

“He’s just an awesome teammate,” LeGrand said. “He’s always keeping people up and not letting them get down. He was able to get on a couple times and we were able to get them in.”

LeGrand matched Hoffman pitch-for-pitch, allowing just four hits through 6 1/3 innings. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, allowing just three runners to reach third. He said staying ahead in the count made him effective.

“I wasn’t able to do that right away in the game,” LeGrand said. “After I started getting that first pitch across, everything started to work.”

In a role reversal from district play, McDermott came on to relieve LeGrand. McDermott came in with the go-ahead runner on base. He was able to get an out on a groundout and then fanned Kurt Trumm on four pitches to end it.

McDermott was told he would be the next option after LeGrand. He was ready for the call, even in the tough situation.

“Fortunately, it was later in the game and we got a lot of good pitches out of Riley,” McDermott said. “I was waiting for my turn. I got it at the very end and just did my job.”

Jenk visited the mound before the final batter. Trumm had driven in the Cougars’ lone run in the fifth. They decided on a basic approach.

“We talked about what we wanted to do,” McDermott said. “We decided to go right at him and that’s what we did.”

Trumm finished with two hits, knocking in Dilan Simon with the tying run in the fifth. Simon, who also had two hits, led off that inning with a bunt single and then set up the score on a fine hustle play, going from first to third on Jarrett Knepper’s sacrifice bunt.

Cascade (28-10) received a strong performance from Hoffman (8-2), who pitched a shutout Saturday in a 1-0 win over No. 7 Northeast. He gave up just four hits, leaving runners in scoring position in four innings and getting out of a bases loaded, one-out situation in the first.

“I know he’d give us a chance to win,” Hummel said. “He’s a senior. He deserved that opportunity. He gutted it out, but unfortunately we didn’t make two plays for him.”

The Blazers return the state tournament after a year hiatus caused by losing to Cascade here a year ago.

“It’s an awesome feeling to get back,” LeGrand said. “Last year was a really tough loss, especially how it went down. It’s a great feeling to get them back.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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