DYERSVILLE, Iowa — It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but the Dyersville Beckman baseball team will certainly take it.
The No. 10-ranked Trailblazers capitalized on several freebies on Saturday night to defeat rival Cascade, 8-3, in the Iowa Class 2A District 9 championship game Saturday night at Commercial Club Park’s Jenk Field. Beckman managed only six hits, but Cascade committed six costly errors.
Beckman (21-14) will face Camanche (22-6) in the Substate 5 championship game at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Solon for a berth in the eight-team state tournament the following week in Carroll. Camanche beat Wilton, 9-1, in the District 10 final. Cascade bowed out at 19-9.
“Any win against Cascade is a good win,” said left-fielder Jackson Oberbroeckling, who broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth.
Neither team played particularly clean baseball, but despite committing three errors, Beckman swept its Highway 136 rivals this season. This one came a little tougher for the Blazers, who routed the Cougars, 12-1 in five innings, on June 18.
“They have a really good team, and we knew they were better than the score from that night,” Beckman shortstop Nate Offerman said. “To be able to beat them, 8-3, in a district championship game feels pretty amazing.”
Beckman won the 29th district championship in program history and the first since 2018, when it won its eighth consecutive. On Tuesday, the Blazers will play for their 19th state tournament appearance and first since winning it all in 2017.
Cascade, which saw an eight-game winning streak come to an end, threatened in the first inning, when Ted Weber reached on an error to lead off, Eli Green delivered a one-out single and Tanner Simon drew a two-out walk to load the bases. But Beckman starter Logan Burchard got out of the jam by coaxing Cade Rausch into a line-drive out to centerfielder Nick Offerman to end the inning.
The Blazers capitalized on Cascade’s misfortune in the bottom half to bat around and score three unearned runs against starter Jack Carr. Luke Schieltz led off with a hit batsman, Nick Offerman drew a one-out walk, and the first run scored when Owen Huehnergarth reached on an error.
Nate Offerman reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on an errant throw when Bryce Boekholder took first on a dropped-third strike. Oberbroeckling drove in a run with Beckman’s first hit, an infield single that shortstop Green stopped with a diving backhand.
“We knew no matter who we faced tonight – either Carr or Green – that we were going to have to try to put pressure on them,” Nate Offerman said. “When they made a few errors in that first inning, we knew we had to capitalize on them. We wanted to be loud and get them frustrated, and it worked.
“That inning took a lot of pressure off us. When I went back out to the field to play defense, I knew we could play with a lead. It didn’t last, but we were pretty confident we could win this game.”
Cascade coach Roamn Hummel knew it would be an uphill battle after the first-inning struggles. His staff charts a “freebie war” in every game, and too many errors, free bases or mental mistakes usually doesn’t lead to success.
“Some games you can lose the freebie war but win the game, just because your opponent isn’t all that good,” Hummel said. “But when you play a team like Dyersville and in certain innings you give them six or seven outs, you’re not going to win.
“It’s unfortunate to have a game like this in a district final. But we just shot ourselves in the foot too much.”
The game didn’t end after the first inning, though.
Cascade answered with a run in the top of the second. Mason Otting led off with an infield single, moved up on a passed ball and a balk, then scored on Weber’s solid two-out single up the middle to make it 3-1.
Cascade tied it and chased Burchard in the third inning. Green singled but was erased on Simon’s one-out fielder’s choice, and Rausch reached on an error. Simon then scored on a balk during a first-and-third steal situation, and Otting punched an RBI single to right-center to tie the game at 3-3.
Beckman coach Fred Martin then turned to Boekholder, who beat Northeast Goose Lake in relief in the semifinals.
“It was basically the same situation as the last time,” said Boekholder, who struck out three and scattered four hits but didn’t allow more than two baserunners in an inning on Saturday night. “I just wanted to come in and keep the score as tight as possible.
“We took advantage of the opportunities they gave us. Even though it wasn’t the cleanest game, I wanted to make them put the ball in play and I trusted my defense to make the plays.”
After stranding Luke Siegwarth on second base after a two-out double in the fourth, Beckman regained the lead with a two-out rally in the fifth. Huehnergarth and Nate Offerman drew two-out walks, and Huehnergarth baited Carr into a balk to move the runners up 90 feet. Oberbroeckling followed with a two-out single off the top of the glove of leaping second baseman Justin Roling to plate a pair of runs and make it 5-3. That prompted Hummel to pull Carr in favor of Green.
“Coming into that at-bat, I was just thinking, ‘Put the ball in play and try to get it into the outfield grass,’” Oberbroeckling said. “I wanted them to have to make a play.
“It felt pretty good off the bat, but I thought he’d catch it for a second there. Thankfully, he didn’t.”
Beckman added insurance in the sixth en route to its fifth straight win.
The Blazers loaded the bases after Burchard and Nick Schmitt reached on errors around a Schieltz walk. Green fanned Nick Offerman for the second out, but Huehnergarth reached on another error to force in a run before Nate Offerman poked a two-run double inside the right-field line to make it 8-3. The Blazers batted around and scored the three runs on one hit, three errors, a walk and a hit batsman.
Beckman improved to 11-6 against its Highway 136 rivals since the 2010 season. That includes postseason wins over the Cougars in 2011, 2014, 2016 and 2017. Cascade earned postseason wins in 2010 and 2015.