DES MOINES — Maybe it was the rain that beat the Western Dubuque Bobcats in the end. Maybe it wasn’t.
For sure, it was Urbandale that beat them, 3-0, Wednesday night in a Class 4A state tournament quarterfinal at Principal Park. That’s the black and white of it.
But consider everything here for a minute.
These teams played an inning before rain delayed the game for about 2 1/2 hours. After play finally resumed, Urbandale scored three runs in the top of the second that were the difference.
“We just didn’t come out the way we needed to after the rain delay,” said Western Dubuque Coach Casey Bryant. “The rest of the game, I felt we were in control, hit the ball harder. That’s just baseball, though. We kind of hit some balls right on the (screws), but right at them. Their defense made plays. They made every play they needed to make.”
University of Iowa-bound senior pitcher Sam Goodman struck out two of the three guys he faced in the first and picked off the other. But he was not sharp in the second, walking back-to-back hitters leading off and committing a throwing error at third base on an ensuing bunt attempt.
A run-scoring single by Lucas Strain followed, then Goodman hit a batter to bring in another run, with a fielder’s choice grounder making it 3-0.
“(A delay) is not ideal for anyone, especially a pitcher,” Goodman said. “But I felt I was good enough to come back and pitch. Coach Bryant asked me if I wanted to, and I told him I wanted the ball, because I did. If I go back and do it again, I’d do it the same way. I just came up short tonight.”
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No. 9-ranked Urbandale (29-14), last year’s 4A champ, went with sophomore Tucker Langenberg to relieve starter Ty Langenberg (his brother) after the delay, and he was great, allowing just two hits in 5 2/3 innings. He wasn’t overpowering, but, as Coach Bryant said, his fielders made every play behind him.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and leading hitter Calvin Bryant, one of the state’s top juniors, representing the tying run, Ty Langenberg re-entered on the mound and got Bryant on a fielder’s choice grounder to end it. Western Dubuque (32-10) was ranked fifth.
“We were squaring up balls offensively. They just weren’t falling tonight,” Bryant said. “One-half inning beat us.”
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