DYERSVILLE, Iowa — Austin Savary picked up his Dyersville teammates in the best possible way late Saturday night.
After a two-out error allowed Key West to force extra innings, Savary belted a three-run home run to lift the Whitehawks to a 6-3, 10-inning victory in the Dyersville Tournament championship game. The Whitehawks won their own tournament for the first time since 2008.
“It was an awesome feeling to be able to deliver for my team after the unfortunate thing that happened in the eighth,” said Savary, a former Dubuque Wahlert all-stater who recently completed his sophomore season at Winona State University. “I came up to the plate pretty relaxed and put together a pretty good at-bat. I don’t know if too much can beat that.”
T.J. Deardorff started the 10th-inning rally with his fourth hit of the game, a one-out single, and Michael Goerdt followed with another base hit. Savary drilled a pitch the opposite way over the right field fence to break the tie.
“I knew I hit it well, but I thought I got under it a little too much for it to go out,” said Savary, the tournament MVP. “But then I saw the right fielder turn his back and start sprinting, and I thought, ‘I might actually have this one.’ To see it go over the fence was a pretty cool experience.
“It means a lot to be named MVP. There are so many good players in this league and in this tournament. Even on my team, we had guys put together really good tournaments. So, to be recognized is a pretty good honor for me.”
Deardorff went 4-for-5 with three doubles, an RBI and scored two runs. He also ended the game with a stellar play at shortstop, making a shoestring catch of a line drive and doubling the runner off first base.
“At the plate, I was just looking for pitches I could drive and, fortunately, got a barrel on a few of them,” said Deardorff, a Dubuque Senior grad who helped Coe College reach the NCAA tournament this spring. “And defensively, I always try to be aggressive and read the ball off the bat.
“This team is a lot of fun. We have quite a few guys who are out of college but still love to compete. It means a lot to them, and it means a lot to us younger guys to help them win a tournament like this.”
C.J. McDermott, a 2018 Dyersville Beckman grad who attends Iowa State University, went the distance on the mound. He allowed just three hits, struck out six and hit two batters.
“Coming in, we knew Key West has a really good hitting team, so (catcher) Cole (Klostermann) and I came up with a strategy of going after them early, making them put it in play and let our defense do the work,” McDermott said. “This is my first summer of playing for the Whitehawks, and it’s a great feeling to come through on the mound for the team, especially the guys who have been around for a while.”
In addition to a Dyersville tournament title drought that dates to 2008, the Whitehawks missed the finals of their own tournament for the previous three seasons.
“There have been some tough years,” manager Matt Ungs said. “This is my 20th year, and to me, this means everything. To go through that many drought years has been tough. We’ve always had good teams, but the semifinals have been a little problem for us the last few years. To pull it off at this stage of my career is a pretty cool feeling.”
Dyersville wasted no time in taking an early lead. Ian Ross led off the game with a walk and came all the way around to score when Deardorff belted his first double to the left-centerfield gap.
The Whitehawks doubled their lead three innings later after Savary led off with a double to left-centerfield. He came around to score on Cole Klostermann’s sacrifice fly to right field.
Key West got that run back in the bottom half of the inning. Brett LaMere tripled to left-center and scored on Nick Woltkamp’s ground out.
The Ramblers tied it, 2-2, in the bottom of the sixth. Logan Kelleher led off by reaching on a hit batsman, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on an Anthony Razo base hit.
Dyersville regained the lead in the eighth. Deardorff led off with his third double of the night, took third on Michael Goerdt’s bunt and scored on a Savary single up the middle.
The Ramblers scratched out a run in the bottom half to tie it again. Kelleher led off with a ground rule double and scored on the two-out error, a dropped fly ball.
In the consolation game, Kyle Lehmann’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning gave Peosta a 9-8 walk-off victory over Epworth.
University of Northern Iowa women’s basketball standout Megan Maahs played for Epworth. Her father, Bruce, is a Dubuque County Baseball Hall of Famer.