There were a couple of scary moments at Jenk Field July 16. The first was a tornado warning that delayed the first game between Bellevue and Camanche nearly 20 minutes.
The second was a seven-run second-inning thrown at the Blazers by Monticello to put them behind in the game, 7-0. Beckman eventually pulled out a 16-8 win but had Blazer fans on the edge of their seats for much of the game.
The Panthers scored two of those runs with one out with Tyler Blattner at bat when Justin Recker scored on an overthrow of third and Ryan Cooper on a bloop over short from Blattner. Starting pitcher Carter Petsche got Dylan Roher to whiff, but allowed a hit toward second that was mis-handled, putting Tyler Luensman on base. Blattner came in on a hard shot past short, Luensman made it on a bloop to short center. When another shot over second scored Avery Martensen, Petsche gave up the mound to Seamus O’Connor. He issued two walks and another run and was immediately pulled for Shawn Deutmeyer, who gave up the seventh run but also got Gavin Cooper to pop out and end the unending frame.
Coach Fred Martin said, “You know we got through the first inning in like 10 pitches and we thought, OK we’re ready to go. We didn’t score that inning but that wasn’t anything to worry about. Petsche was going good and is a tough man to beat. But then you throw in a couple errors and they started hitting him hard and then momentum just carries the game.”
Then, it was time for the Blazers to go to work. Matt Stelken reached when he was hit-by-pitch and Josh Engler beat a bouncer to short. Petsche flew out, but Luke Goedken singled to center to plate Sean Kluesner (running for Stelken). A new Panther (Martensen) took the mound and Deutmeyer tagged him for an RBI-single to left. O’Connor walked to re-load the bags, setting up Owen Grover’s RBI hit-by-pitch and advancing Trent Koelker (running for Deutmeyer) to third. He promptly plated on a passed ball during Brock Marbach’s at bat to make it 7-4 before Marbach fanned and Nick Offerman ground out.
“If you looked at their dugout after that inning, it would have seemed they were trailing 7-4 instead of us. They looked pretty far down and we were upbeat. Shawn took control and kept it just like he’s been doing all year for us. All we needed was a little momentum on our side and we got it. Shawn carried the night for us. He added 3-for-5 at the plate to his mound duties. It was a career night for him and he’ll remember that,” Martin said.
The Blazers added a run in the third and fourth to cut the margin to 7-6. Engler’s RBI-single scored Kluesner and Marbach’s RBI to right plated Koelker again.
But it was the bottom of the fifth when they finally took control, scoring eight runs to lead 14-7.
In the big fifth, Stelken whiffed to open. Engler was hit, Petsche drew a walk, and Kluesner (running for Engler) stole second. It was the first steal for the Blazers but not the last. Martin had said earlier in the game, “If we’d be ahead, they’d be running (stealing). But not when we’re down this much.” Now they weren’t down and the runners had the green light.
When Goedken walked, the bags were full. Deutmeyer singled to plate both Kluesner and Petsche for the tying and go-ahead runs. Grover was again hit by the ball and sent in Goedken. A walk to Marbach scored Koelker. Another pass to Offerman plated O’Connor. Stelken drilled a sacrifice fly to left to score Grover and Marbach came in on Engler’s single to right. A passed ball with Petsche at the plate tallied the final run of the frame, from Offerman.
Beckman added two insurance runs in the sixth. Deutmeyer tagged his second hit of the night, a one-out single to short left field and his sub, Koelker, scored on a Grover single. Grover, after stealing second, plated the last run when he advanced on an error and a balk.
Deutmeyer retired three of the final four Panthers to preserve the win. He threw 75 pitches over 5 1/3 innings, gave up a single hit and run and fanned five.
Martin added, “You know part way through, one of the guys came up to me and said, ‘Hey coach, two more and we’ll 10-run them.’ I didn’t even think that far, the way we started that wouldn’t have even entered my mind.
“When I look at the scores from the other games, North Linn barely won, Cascade had to battle, Wilton didn’t win by much, I know you can never take anybody for granted.”
O’Connor went 3-for-4, Deutmeyer 3-for-5 with three RBIs, Engler 2-for-2, two RBIs. Grover was 1-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored, Marbach 1-for-2, two RBIs and a run, Goedken was 1-for-4 with an RBI and two runs. The team stole five bases and accepted eight walks.
The win puts Beckman in a game July 20 at home against Camanche, 6-1 winners of the earlier game that night. “I think they’ll probably throw a lefty against us too,” said Martin. “Both Petsche and Deutmeyer will be available for us and we’ll play our game.”