WORTHINGTON, Iowa — Cole Klostermann doesn’t want to offend any of his Dyersville Whitehawks when he puts together a nightly batting order.
But, with the depth the Whitehawks have shown through the first three-plus weeks of the semi-pro baseball season, some really talented hitters have found themselves toward the bottom of the lineup.
“You almost feel like you’re insulting a guy if you bat him ninth, because every guy in the lineup deserves to hit higher in the order,” Klostermann said Saturday night after winning the manager of the Worthington Tournament award. “That hasn’t been the norm for this team the last few years, but it feels really good to have that. It’s just a very complete team.
“The last five years I’ve played, we just haven’t been able to put it together consistently in tournaments. But this year, we’ve gotten good pitching, we’re playing good defense, and guys are hitting. It’s a much more complete team now.”
The Whitehawks got 15 hits from eight different spots in the lineup, and five different players drove in runs in a 6-3 victory over Zwingle on Saturday night. It marked Dyersville’s first tournament title in three tries this season.
“We had some times in the tournament, even tonight, when we kind of struggled to put things together,” Dyersville’s Austin Savary said after hitting .357 with a pair of home runs, five RBIs and earning a pitching win to claim tournament MVP honors. “But it’s really calming to have a lineup like ours, because you know you’re going to get contributions from everybody, 1 through 9. You know everybody has a chance to not just put the ball in play, but to do some damage.”
The victory had a special meaning to the Savary family, as all three siblings contributed to the championship. Alex Savary played at Buena Vista before graduating last spring, Austin Savary will be a senior at Winona State in the fall, and Aaron Savary is a Dubuque Wahlert sophomore with a promising future. Aaron Savary pitched four shutout innings to stay sharp in the midst of Wahlert’s two-week shutdown because of a positive COVID-19 test within the program.
“Other than the three of them playing whiffle ball in the yard, they don’t get a chance to play together very often, so it’s pretty special,” said their father Scott Savary, a former Cincinnati Reds prospect. “It’s kind of a dream scenario to have them all playing at the same time.”
Another Wahlert hurler, junior Jared Walter, picked up the win after yielding three runs in three innings of work. T.J. Deardorff retired the final six batters — four on strikeouts and the other two on comebackers — to nail down the victory.
Dyersville took a 2-0 lead on Rob Hermsen’s two-run double in the fifth, but Zwingle responded with three runs in the sixth. One run scored when Lance Richardson reached on an error, Andy Wurster added a run-scoring fielder’s choice, and Trey Hunt delivered a sacrifice fly.
The Whitehawks added insurance in the seventh and eighth innings. Riley LeGrand singled in a run, and Austin Savary delivered a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Joel Vaske ripped an RBI triple and scored on Klostermann single in the eighth.
“Getting that little extra cushion was huge,” said LeGrand, who had his junior year at Coe College cut short by the pandemic. “It was nice to get it to 6-3 instead of trying to protect a one- or two-run lead, because you can play with a little more confidence. We were hitting the ball well, but we weren’t stringing them together until the end.
“It’s a lot of fun to be back out on the field after what happened this spring. And this past week was a lot of fun, too, because we played some good ball. Good pitching, solid defense and timely hits are always a pretty good recipe for success.”
Dyersville defeated Bellevue, 4-2, in the first round; edged rival Cascade, 2-1, in the quarterfinals; and held off Peosta, 3-2, in the semifinals.
Tournament action resumed Sunday with the first two of eight opening round games at Rickardsville.