PEOSTA, Iowa — Starting pitchers usually don’t last very long in all-star outings.
But Key West’s Nick Woltkamp didn’t want to come out.
Woltkamp scattered 10 hits and allowed only three runs in a nine-inning complete game effort to lead the Eastern Iowa Hawkeye League to a 6-3 victory over the Prairie League in the 34th annual Telegraph Herald Semi-pro All-Star Game on Saturday night at A. J. Spiegel Park, home of the Peosta Cubs.
“The thing was my arm felt good. We talked to the guys and it was kind of a team decision,” said Woltkamp, the game’s MVP. “We asked if anyone wanted to go in or if I should keep going.
“It’s a great feeling to get the MVP. My arm hasn’t been feeling the greatest all year. This is only like my fourth outing, and this is the best my arm has felt all year. It definitely showed with the fastball and the change-up.”
The EIHL threatened in the top of the first, when the Dubuque Budweisers’ Cole Thompson and Dyersville’s Austin Savary singled, and Rickardsville’s Jeff Steele walked to load the bases. But Bellevue starter Doug Van Dyke coaxed Worthington’s Travis Rahe into an inning-ending ground out.
In the bottom half, Zwingle’s Isaac Evans led off with a double, but Woltkamp retired the next three to strand Evans at second.
The Prairie League opened the scoring an inning later, after Placid’s J. J. Connolly and the Dubuque Packers’ Tucker Mai singled. Holy Cross’ Tyler Ernzen drove in the first run with a two-out opposite field double just inside the left-field line.
The EIHL tied it an inning later after Key West’s Lake Rosson drew a lead off walk. Two outs later, Savary singled sharply to right-centerfield to make it 1-1.
The Prairie League loaded the bases in the fifth on singles by Ernzen, Evans and Balltown’s Jimmy McDermott. Peosta’s Nate Ramler gave the Prairie League the lead with a fielder’s choice, and Woltkamp avoided further damage with an inning-ending double play.
The EIHL immediately tied it. Dyersville’s T. J. Deardorff greeted Dubuque Packers reliever Austin Bradley with a home run to straightaway left field to lead off the top of the sixth.
The Prairie League again loaded the bases in the seventh. But Woltkamp fanned Peosta’s Connor Grant to end the inning.
Deardorff drew a one-out walk in the eighth, stole second and scored on a double inside the left-field line by Worthington’s Ben Ogden. The Budweisers’ Matt Gruszkowski followed with a two-run home run to left field to give the EIHL a 5-2 cushion.
In the ninth, Key West’s Brett LaMere singled and scored on a double by Cascade’s Bryce Simon to make it 6-2.
McDermott hit a two-out home run in the bottom of the ninth to account for the final margin.
Five players were late additions to the all-star rosters. Rickardsville’s Steele, Cascade’s Simon and Dyersville’s Deardorff joined the EIHL squad, while Epworth’s Brett Featherston and Balltown’s Jack Jaeger landed spots on the Prairie League team.
Following the game, the Dubuque County Baseball Hall of Fame officially inducted six players and one contributor. The players included Rufus Bennett, Bill Petsche, Ken Rapp, Tim Schmitt, Dean Steffen and Pete Weber. TH sports editor Jim Leitner went in as a contributor.
They were also honored Friday night with a banquet at Happy’s Place in Key West.