With seven seniors leading the team, the Beckman baseball team completed another solid season, ending 26-13.
Those seniors included Owen Grover, Seamus O’Connor, Shawn Deutmeyer, Brock Marbach, Matt Stelken, Carter Petsche and Grant Rausch. The crew led team stats pretty much across the board, giving the returning players something to shoot for next season.
Grover paced the hitting stats, building the best batting average (.441), slugging average (.640), and on-base percentage (.560). He led the team in runs scored (45), hits (49) and triples)10) while tying for the top in doubles (10), home runs (two) and second in RBIs (31) while striking out just eight times in 111 at-bats. He also reached base 21 times after being hit by a pitch and stole 21 of 23 bases.
O’Connor was second on the team in hits (41) and batting average (.360), tied Grover in doubles (10) and home runs (two). He also threw 39 2/3 innings and fanned 33 batters.
Deutmeyer was a go-to hurler for the Blazers, throwing 46 1/3 innings and building a 5-2 mark with 35 strikeouts. He was also effective at the plate, getting 37 hits and scoring 20 runs with 24 RBIs and a .346 batting average.
Marbach led the team in RBIs (34) and rapped 34 hits, nine doubles, with a .301 batting average. He did go 2-2 on the mound with 12 1/3 innings when he wasn’t manning first base.
Stelken controlled the plate as catcher and did come in eight times to pitch. He also hit four doubles while batting .231.
Petsche was the number one pitcher for the Blazers, amassing an 8-2 record through 63 1/3 innings, fanning 84 batters and working to a 1.88 ERA. Despite batting ninth in the order, Petsche scored 28 times and recorded 25 hits, three doubles and a triple.
Rausch subbed at second base at times and got a couple hits in limited times at-bat.
“All seven seniors had a big part in our wins this year and they will be missed,” coach Fred Martin said.
The cupboard is not empty for the coaching staff, as juniors Luke Goedken (shortstop, 44 runs scored, 40 hits, five doubles, 21 RBIs, .303 average), Josh Engler (designated hitter, 17 RBIs, 4-1 on the mound), Sean Kluesner, Riley Fangman, Jack Westhoff, Cole Domeyer and Bennett English, sophomores Nick Offerman (28 hits, 24 runs, three doubles, 30 RBIs), Trent Koelker and Bryce Boeckholder and frosh Owen Huehnergarth and Wyatt Schulte return, all having seen varsity action this season.
“Our record was better than I thought it was going to be this year. After losing the pitching we did from 2018, I didn’t know where the wins were going to come from. Meeting a goal of that many wins was a key highlight of this year, especially starting the season so strong (10-2) and beating some top-quality teams to do it (North Linn and Western Dubuque),” Martin added.
“But our goal, one we have every year, is to get to state and in that we didn’t succeed. We didn’t finish the season as strongly as we should have. There will be a lot of positions that need to be filled next season.
“Gosh, it seems that kids are being pulled in so many directions now they don’t just focus on baseball like they used to. In the spring, four sports are going at once, baseball, golf, track, soccer, and not too many guys can do all of them well. That’s the thing that probably scares me as much as anything about the future of the sport. We still have a lot of good young athletes and the ones that will work the hardest will be the ones who play the most. But someone once told me ‘You’ve got good athletes, what’s the problem?’ I answered, ‘Give me a baseball guy anytime over an athlete. We can still train an athlete but someone who loves baseball the best is still the one who will produce the most.”