MARION — Carter Petsche is a big-time pitcher with a little frame.
The 5-foot-5 right-hander has played a huge role for Dyersville Beckman, assuming the ace role with the graduation of all-staters Jackson Bennett and C.J. McDermott.
“He’s beaten everybody we’ve put him against, so far,” said Beckman Coach Fred Martin, noting his victories over Western Dubuque and North Linn that are ranked third in Class 4A and 2A, respectively. “He’s had no-hitters, two one-hitters and a two-hitter. He’s thrown well. He’s learned how to pitch this year.”
Add 3A fourth-ranked Marion to the list. Petsche improved to 8-0 this season, helping the Blazers hold on to a 7-5 victory in the nightcap of a Wamac Conference baseball doubleheader split with the host Indians. Marion won the opener, 12-2, in six innings.
Petsche gutted out a 101-pitch performance, scattering nine hits without a base on balls.
“It was a little different today,” Petsche said. “They could hit my curveball, so I had to trust my fastball a little more, but got the job done, trusted the defense and got the win.”
The start went in Marion’s favor. The Indians (21-4) continued their hot batting from Game 1 and had three consecutive hits in the first inning. They scored one on a wild pitch for a 3-0 lead.
Petsche’s bulldog mentality and competitiveness allowed him to refocus and learn from the early mistakes. He followed it with five shutout innings before Marion rallied for two in the seventh. Petsche logged three of his five strikeouts in the final inning.
“I had to fight and battle back,” Petsche said. “We did and we won.”
Petsche was 4-2 last year, starting five games. He said he worked a lot in the offseason after learning a lot about how to pitch from Bennett and McDermott the last couple years. Martin said the senior starter mixes his pitches well, keeping opponents off-balance.
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“In baseball, size doesn’t mean anything,” said Martin, who referred to him as “Lil Petsch” after the game. “The little guys can play as well as the big guys, if you put the time into it and work hard at it. He’s worked awfully hard and has played a lot of baseball. He’s learned to be a pitcher and not a thrower.”
Petsche also had two hits, including an RBI single to tie the game, 3-3, in the three-run fourth. Beckman (22-9) added two in the fifth, capitalizing on three Marion balks. The Blazers added two in the seventh, getting an RBI single from Nick Offerman, who was 3-for-3 with three RBIs in Game 2.
In the opener, Marion battered Beckman for 14 hits. Trevor Paulsen went 6-for-7 with three runs and two RBIs. Rick Atkins got the win for Marion, allowing two runs on six hits. Atkins struck out 10 batters in 5 2/3 innings, upping his record to 6-1.
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