DES MOINES – The cliché goes that it’s tough to beat a good team three times in a row during a season. For Dyersville Beckman, it was impossible to beat a good team three times in a row in a state championship game.
Cole Jackson wadded up the Blazers’ hopes of a Class 2A baseball three-peat and threw them in the recycle bin Saturday afternoon, pitching North Polk to a 2-0 win at Principal Park.
Beckman beat the Comets for it all in 2012 and 2013, coming back from a one-run deficit in the seventh inning to walk off with last year’s championship. The Blazers got their leadoff man on in the seventh here, but a rally repeat never materialized.
“We were sitting and watching them play their semifinal game, and I was praying that we’d get a chance to play them again,” said Jackson, who spun a four-hitter. “I don’t know if it can make it any sweeter, but it sure makes it more of an enjoyable (win) … Playing those guys has been a burden for us the last couple years, but this year, it paid off. I think we came out a lot stronger knowing that we’d lost to them the past two years.”
“They wanted it today,” said Beckman’s Tony Anstoetter. “We stole it from them last year, we’ve gotten it the last two years. They were ready to take it, and they did. They beat us fair and square.”
Beckman played uncharacteristically tight early, giving up an unearned run in the first. A fielding error on center fielder Mitch Steger after a single scored another Comets run in the third, though it turned out to be earned because of the way the rest of the inning played out.
North Polk (32-5) had multiple other opportunities to pad its lead, with Beckman pitcher Conner Klostermann stranding guys at third base the final four innings. Klostermann threw a complete game, allowing seven hits.
“We’ve been thinking about this game since the same time last year,” Klostermann said. “It does suck, but hats off to them. They played great. We didn’t play great, but we played well. That’s just the way it works sometimes. That’s baseball.”
Jackson had just one clean inning, but Beckman (29-14) only advanced one runner as far as third base, and that came in the first. The right-hander came in with a sub-1.00 earned run average, considered his team’s number two pitcher.
“His ball is fast, and he mixed up his pitches,” Anstoetter said. “He’s just a good pitcher. He had it today.”
“I don’t think anyone got (nervous) or anything,” Jackson said. “It’s almost comfortable playing them because you know what they have and what to expect. They’re a great team, and I’m proud of our guys for going out there and getting that win.”
Beckman Coach Tom Jenk Jr. won his 1,000th career game late in the regular season but couldn’t cap off the milestone with his fifth title. Call it braggadocious if you want, but he doesn’t think this will be the last time his perennially strong program is in a championship game.
“The guys really wanted it, I feel bad for them,” he said. “They worked their butts off all year to get down here and prove their worth. I thought they did an excellent job today.
“We don’t plan on stopping here. Hopefully you’ll see us back here next year. That’s our goal always. Our goal is always not to lose the last game you play. We didn’t quite reach our goal this year.”
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