Camanche may have had to travel a ton of time to reach Dyersville, but the Indians went home a happy team July 20 after upsetting the Beckman Blazers at Jenk field, 4-2.
The Blazers struggled to get the hits they needed, stranding several runners on base, and couldn’t solve the pitching of sophomore hurler Cade Everson, who came into the game with a 2-0 record over 13 innings and a 5.92 ERA. Everson went the distance for the Indians, striking out five batters and giving up just three hits. But the two key strikeouts came in the final inning, with the Blazers down, 4-2, and holding that one last chance to score.
Everson fanned leadoff batter and designated hitter Josh Engler in four pitches, coaxed Carter Petsche into flying out to right and then fanned Luke Goedken with five throws to end the game and set off a wild Camanche celebration.
Things didn’t seem to be clicking for the Blazers all night. The Indians scored in the first inning on a fielder’s choice shot from, who else, Everson. In the bottom of the frame, he hit Goedken who quickly stole second but was cut down on an attempted theft of third for the second out.
Petsche faced just three batters, using 10 pitches to clear them in the top of the second. In the Blazer half, Owen Grover was hit-by-pitch, his fourth in the last five at-bats and 21st of the year. He advanced on a walk to Brock Marbach and both moved on Nick Offerman’s bunt. But when catcher Matt Stelken whiffed and Engler hit into a ground out, both were left languishing on base.
Coach Fred Martin added, “That was key there, we had two runners on and only one out. If we could have gotten a hit, the whole game would have changed.”
The Indians did more damage in the third when Petsche issued a one-out walk to Kyle DeWeerdt but got Mike Delzell to fly out for the second dinger. Trouble was, he allowed back-to-back doubles, to Mason Byrns and Everson, to plate two runners for a 3-0 lead.
But you remember the Blazers gave up a 7-0 lead to Monticello in their opening district game and came back, so 3-0 didn’t look too bad, then. Until it was three up, three down for the Blazers in the bottom of the third. In the fourth, they did the same to the Indians, helped by a spectacular catch at short from Goedken that he fired to first from a sitting position and still made the out.
In the bottom of the fourth, Seamus O’Connor opened with a single to left and advanced during Grover’s at-bat on a passed ball. Marbach laced a base hit over second for two runners on. Offerman fanned for the second out, but pinch hitter Owen Huehnergarth reached via error and scored O’Connor for a Blazer tally. Engler drew a walk to load the bags but Petsche stopped that progress with a fly out to right for the third out and a 3-1 margin.
Camanche got its final run in the fifth, forcing a Blazer pitching change to Shawn Deutmeyer. He closed down the final three batters and hit a one-out single in the bottom of the frame. His pinch-runner, Trent Koelker, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly to left from O’Connor for the final margin 4-2.
The loss ends the Blazer campaign at 25-13 while the Indians advance to the sub-state final July 23 at DeWitt with a record of 17-13 and a chance to make the trip to Des Moines.
Martin added, “You know it was disappointing, but our hitting wasn’t where it should be the last few games. In a nutshell that was our season — not enough hits. This game just showcased it, what did we have three hits? That’s not going to win games. Shawn and Carter pitched well enough, but that kid for Camanche did better. We knew we should have won this one, but I guess in the post-season you never know who will step up. They did.
“You know we’re losing a lot of players this year. Next year’s team will be a whole new ballgame. We’ve got some talented younger players. It will just be who steps up and works the hardest.”
The lone three hits in the game came from Deutmeyer, O’Connor and Marbach. Petsche notched three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings, walked one and gave up four runs on six hits. Deutmeyer walked two but gave up no hits and no runs in 2 1/3 frames.