State Baseball: Sans Bus, Beckman Beats Kuemper to Reach 2A Title Game
By Jeff Johnson, Reporter
DES MOINES - Someone in Dyersville with deep pockets needs to reach in them to help Beckman High School buy a new school bus or two. Come on, already.
The Blazers had to pile into vans early Thursday morning as Plan B after finding out the "Blue Bird Special" scheduled to drive them to Des Moines for their state baseball tournament semifinal was out of commission. This coming after a breakdown last Friday just outside Principal Park as Beckman was arriving for its Class 2A quarterfinal.
"I hope they get it serviced before Saturday," catcher Lucas Jacque said.
Saturday is the championship game, which Beckman fought its way to with a 6-3 win Thursday afternoon over Carroll Kuemper. It's the 10th appearance on the biggest stage for the school, which was last there in 2009.
Beckman's last title was 2000. Apparently it had no transportation woes that year.
"It's no problem," said Beckman's Nate Steger. "The vans are more comfortable any way. You don't have to worry about not having air conditioning."
It took being cool, not to mention calm and collected, for the top-seeded Blazers (37-7) after Kuemper rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning to tie things at 2-2. The Knights (27-12) failed to complete a routine 6-4-3 double play that would have ended the bottom of the inning, and that was telltale.
Five straight Beckman hitters reached after that against hard-throwing Kuemper ace Chris Halbur (0.64 earned run average), including Robbie Anstoetter with a go-ahead single to center and Steger with a three-run double to left-center to break it open.
"We just knew that we needed to get something going again," Anstoetter said. "We got guys on base and hit it in good spots. We didn't really hit it that hard, but we just found where the gaps were."
"We wear it on our sleeves: '21 outs,'" Beckman Coach Tom Jenk Jr.
He meant literally. That patch is on every Blazer uniform.
"We were the home team, and we knew that," Jenk said. "That's what I kept preaching to them. We'll get to bat again, don't worry about it. It's a tie game."
Kuemper tried for a miracle two-out rally in the seventh against Steger, picking up a walk, single and double to bring up the tying run. But Steger got Kolby Hilgenberg to bounce back to him on a 3-1 pitch to start the celebration.
He was Beckman's starting third baseman as a freshman in 2009.
"Same thing this time," he said. "Same feeling. It's great."
What's On KCRG