A week that saw the Beckman baseball team play games on four of five days ended at Jenk Field July 5 with a sweep of Solon.
The Blazers built a 4-0 lead in the first three innings of the opener, behind the stellar pitching of Josh Engler. In the bottom of the fifth they added two more, after Shawn Deutmeyer reached with a single and Owen Grover tagged a one-out double to center to plate him. Grover crossed when Brock Marbach singled to center.
Solon tried to make it a game in the sixth with inning-opening hits from Jackson Pipolo and Cole Arduser. Engler got the next two batters to fly out, but gave up a run-scoring single to Ryan Geistkemper. That chased him for reliever Seamus O’Connor, who walked the first batter he faced. But he coaxed Nolan Pattison into a dropping single to center caught by a diving Grover for the third out.
Luke Goedken drilled a two-out double in the bottom of the sixth but languished when Deutmeyer popped up to first for the third out.
O’Connor retired the three batters he saw in the seventh to preserve the win.
In the nightcap Solon took the early lead, 1-0, in the second inning. In the bottom of the third, Grover’s sacrifice fly plated Goedken to tie the game 1-1. They went ahead in the next frame with Deutmeyer’s single to right that scored Carter Petsche.
The Spartans came back to knot it again in their half of the fifth, scoring Cam Miller on a single to center from Adam Bock. In the fifth, the Blazers broke it open. Grover bunted safely to begin, followed by outs from Marbach and Nick Offerman. Matt Stelken drew a walk but a passed ball during his at bat scored Grover.
Sean Kluesner came in to run for Stelken and crossed the plate on Grant Rausch’s stand-up double to left, making it 4-2. Rausch added to the Blazers’ score when Petsche singled to left, to chase Spartan starter Jake Van Roekel. Reliever Drew Turner lasted ten pitches, walking both Goedken and Deutmeyer and scoring Petsche to make the lead 6-2. Another reliever, Mathieux Rehnke, got O’Connor to ground into the third out.
O’Connor, back in to relieve starter Deutmeyer, faced four batters in the sixth to retire the side. In the bottom of that frame, the Blazers saw Offerman beat a sure throw to first after a two-out hit to the shortstop. Jack Westhoff walked, as did Rausch to fill the bags. Offerman came in when Kluesner also drew a walk. Goedken hit a fly to first to end any more scoring.
Solon tried its best in the top of the seventh. Grover made another highlight-reel catch in center to save a shot from Miller for the opening out. A walk and error at second put two batters on, one of whom, McSweeney, scored on Pattison’s sac fly, 7-3. Another walk and an overthrown ball at first scored Bock but O’Connor got Pipolo to fly out to short center for the final out.
“I told Shawn and Josh, in the first game, I would pull them when they were under-90 so they could be ready to go Tuesday night again when we play DeWitt,” said coach Fred Martin. “It turned out to be the best for the team. Solon had gotten pretty far down in their rotations and we didn’t face their best throwers tonight, but that’s the game these days. Seamus did a good job coming in both games.”
The beginning of the Class 2A No. 8 Blazers’ week saw them at Marion for a split with the fourth-ranked team in 3A. They fell big in the first game, 12-2, but came back to take the nightcap, 7-5.
The Indians scored in all but one of the first six frames, capping their night with a five-run sixth. The Blazers could only steal six hits, from Engler (2-for-3), Deutmeyer, O’Connor (solo home run), Grover and Marbach. O’Connor took the loss in 5 1/3 innings, distributing 12 hits and giving up 10 runs (five earned) while striking out a lone batter.
Game two saw the Indians put up three first-inning scores before the Blazers knotted the game in the fourth. They added two more in the fifth and the seventh and held off a two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh.
Petsche went the distance for his eighth win of the season, scattering nine hits and fanning five, giving up two earned runs. Offerman was a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Petsche went 2-for-3, two RBIs, and Deutmeyer, O’Connor, Grover, Marbach, Stelken and Engler all added hits.
July 2 saw the Blazers hosting Wahlert for a 3-2 win. Two first inning runs held up until the fifth when they tallied the game-winner for Engler, who went 4 and 2/3 and gave up no runs on two hits, fanning two, walking one. Deutmeyer started the game and gave up two hits for two earned runs, walked four and struck out one.
Grover went 2-for-2 with a double and two stolen bases, working up to a team-leading 20 on the year. O’Connor, Offerman and Petsche added hits, while Marbach notched two RBIs and a walk.
The hits came hot-and-heavy at Dubuque Senior the following day, a game in which the Rams prevailed, 13-11. Senior took an 8-1 lead with a five-run fourth but the Blazers clawed back in with three in the fifth and seven big ones in the seventh.
Pitching was by committee in this one: no less than six Blazers took the mound. Marbach got the loss in one inning of work, giving up three runs on two hits (21 pitches). Stelken went 2 1/3, gave up four runs on two hits and three strikeouts. Owen Huehnergarth threw for two frames, gave up two runs on three hits and three whiffs. Trent Koelker went two outs and released a run on two hits. Offermann and Kluesner threw nine and 10 pitches, with Kluesner giving up a run.
Thirteen hits came from Deutmeyer (3-for-4), Goedken (3-for-5), Petsche (2-for-4), Marbach (2-for-5), O’Connor, Stelken and Huehnergarth (double).
Martin added, “I am really pleased with how this week turned out. It was a tough schedule and the guys really performed. I am impressed with how well they are doing. I never would have guessed we’d be 25-10 at this point. There were a lot of question marks when we started the year and they have answered a lot of those.
“I think we’ve got it pretty well figured out to start the tourney run. Our lineup is set and our pitchers are really doing their jobs.”