Dyersville Beckman Romps Way to Class 2A State Title Berth

DES MOINES, Iowa – The Class 2A semifinals started out as a nightmare for the defending state champs.

Dyersville Beckman, fresh off a come-from-behind quarterfinal victory against Waterloo Columbus, came up to bat in the second inning trailing, 2-0, to Roland-Story.

Then the floodgates opened.

"Just like we did Monday, we kind of came out a little uptight in the first inning – a little first inning jitters," said Beckman left fielder Todd Engelken, who went 2-3 with three RBI. "I feel like the hits (in the second) just really loosened everything up, got people settled in and they could find their pitch at the plate and went from there."

Beckman (35-6) got two runs in that second inning, then poured it on in the third and fourth, scoring 11 runs on 10 hits – all while saving the left arm of their undefeated ace, Joey Lehmann – in the 13-2 victory over Roland-Story (28-14).

Adam Noethe, who gave up two runs on six hits in his five innings on the mound, also helped himself out at the plate, notching a pair of RBIs in the flurry of scoring.

"I've never had a hitting game like that before, and I don't think I've ever hit a ball that far before either," Noethe said, who had two RBIs himself, one coming on a fly ball that landed on the warning track. "But that's what happens when you prepare, good things happen."

Once Beckman shook off the early struggles, they jumped on the Roland-Story pitchers. After Norseman starter Zach Hovick was pulled after just 2 1/3 innings, the Blazers never let up. Beckman Coach Tom Jenk Jr. said the teams they play throughout the season set the Blazers up for situations like they've faced at the state tournament.

"There's no panic-mode for us. The game's played in 21 outs, not three," Jenk said. "We've been in that position before. We play a pretty tough schedule for a 2A school, so we're used to being in those kinds of situations."

All the hits – especially against Hovick, who came in with a 12-3 record and 1.24 ERA – were a welcome surprise for Beckman, who survived much of the regular and postseason without consistent bats.

"That was really important for us (to get the bats going), because it's something we've been working on in practice," Jenk said. "We haven't had our sticks working through the district (games), we've been winning mostly on pitching and defense. But tonight you got an opportunity to see both sides of the game."

Now Beckman has a chance to defend the state championship they got against North Polk last year in a rematch against the Comets on Saturday.

For Jenk and the team, it was important to get here and shake off the shadow of last year.

"It means a lot to us (to be back here), this year especially," Jenk said. "These kids (this year) had (last year) on their back, all year this year to be the defending state champs, and I told them that they're not the defending state champs – that was last year's team. They want to go out and establish their own, new identity, and they get a chance to do that Saturday afternoon."
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