Sam Link and Sam Goodman have been baseball buddies as long as they can remember.
It started in the Dubuque Independent League’s D League and will continue in the fall, when they begin their playing careers at the University of Iowa. And, while Link starred at Dubuque Senior and Goodman at Western Dubuque, the two will share a dugout in their final high school baseball games this weekend.
Link and Goodman will play for the Large Schools East squad at the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Series at historic Merchants Park in Carroll. Dyersville Beckman’s Carter Petsche will pitch for the Small Schools East team.
“It’s going to be awesome,” said Link, a shortstop. “I only got to play against Goody a couple of times in high school, but we’ve been playing together in Independent League and travel ball since we were little kids. So it’s kind of fitting that we get to play one last high school game together.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend. And I’m excited about getting our careers started down at Iowa in a couple of weeks.”
Link committed to the Hawkeyes last summer and promised Goodman they would be roommates in Iowa City if he followed suit. Goodman de-committed from Wichita State in the fall and signed with the Hawkeyes in November.
And, yes, they will room together in the fall.
“Sam’s an awesome person from a great family, and he’s a great baseball player on top of that,” said Goodman, a right-handed pitcher. “When you put all of that together, he’s just a really fun guy to be around. We always have fun, no matter what we’re doing.
“To have an opportunity to play together in something like the all-star series is pretty cool. I can’t wait.”
The all-star series will feature 64 of the top high school seniors in the state split into four squads. They will play three round-robin games Thursday through Saturday before the consolation and championship games on Sunday.
“I’ve been blessed with a lot of great opportunities to play in events like this, and it’s going to be awesome to play with some of the guys I’ve played with and throughout my years in high school,” Link said. “In events like this, when you’re playing with guys who are really, really good, I love being able to pick their brains and learn something from them. It’s always interesting to see how top guys approach the game.”
Link saw his senior season slowed by a nagging hamstring injury, but he rebounded to hit .464 (32-for-69) with six doubles, one triple and three home runs. He drove in 27 runs and went 11-for-12 in stolen base attempts.
The Iowa Print Sports Writers named him first-team all-state on Tuesday.
Goodman, an all-stater in each of the last two seasons as the ace of two Western Dubuque state tournament teams, went 6-4 with a 0.78 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 63 innings this season. He issued only 10 walks and finished his career with four no-hitters, including a gem in an 8-0 victory over Davenport Central in the substate championship game.
“Honestly, the most exciting part about being picked to play in the all-star series is having the chance to play one last high school game with so many guys I’ve played travel ball with or against since I was 9 years old,” Goodman said. “It’s a pretty cool honor to be a part of something like this and playing with some of the best players in the state.”
Petsche, a right-handed pitcher who will play at Luther College in the fall, went 8-2 with a 1.88 ERA as the Trailblazers’ ace pitcher this season. He struck out 84 batters in 63 1/3 innings, and opponents hit just .218 against him.
Beckman narrowly missed in its quest for a ninth consecutive district championship.
“This is an awesome opportunity,” Petsche said. “I’ve always loved baseball, and to play in an all-star series with so many great athletes is a pretty cool opportunity to have. I want to go out, have fun and do my best. Hopefully, it all goes well.
“It means a lot to me, too, to get to wear the Beckman jersey one last time. Obviously, our season didn’t end the way we wanted it to. So this is a good opportunity for me to maybe go out with a bang.”