CASCADE, Iowa — Reid Rausch recognized the importance of a bounce-back performance for the Cascade baseball team after a lack-luster loss the previous night.
The Iowa Class 2A No. 7-ranked Cougars responded with a 10-0, five inning victory over No. 5 Dyersville Beckman on Friday night at Legion Field. It came after Cascade (15-4) suffered a 4-3 loss to Tipton on Thursday.
“We got beat by a team we thought we should have beaten because we weren’t fully locked in,” Rausch said after tossing a three-hitter and driving in three runs against Beckman. “Tonight, we really tried to stay locked in the whole game and be disciplined, and we were able to do that throughout. It was a really good team win for us after (Thursday).”
Cascade played its second game without all-state outfielder Logan Otting, who enrolled at Iowa State and will play football for the Cyclones in the fall. The Cougars made the most of only four hits and eight walks issued by Beckman pitching.
“(Thursday night), I think guys were kind of thinking, ‘Oh, what are we going to do without him?’ and we had kind of a woe-is-me attitude,” Cascade coach Roamn Hummel said. “A win like this against a quality opponent shows that we’re still a really good team. I’ve always thought that. Logan was a huge presence on our team, but now our guys realize they can win even if he’s not in there.”
Beckman (14-6) threatened in the top of the first, when Seamus O’Connor placed a two-out double over the bag at third, and Owen Grover reached on an error. But Rausch ended the rally with a strikeout.
An inning later, the Cougars used patience at the plate to open the scoring. Eli Green, Tanner Simon and Jack Menster walked to load the bases and leadoff hitter Haris Hoffman coaxed another free pass on a 3-2 count to plate the first run.
Rausch and Riley Reed each followed with two-out, two-run singles to put Cascade ahead, 5-0. Rausch chopped his single up the middle, and Reed poked his base hit into right centerfield.
“We were really patient at the plate, working counts and driving up the pitchers’ pitch counts,” Reed said. “So we kind of made them throw pitches we wanted, and we were able to put them in play. We came up with the big hits when we really needed them tonight.”
Ted Weber connected for a third straight hit, chasing Beckman starter O’Connor in favor of Matt Stelken. Cooper Rausch made it 6-0 by scampering home on a first-and-third steal situation. Cascade scored its six runs on just three hits and sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning.
Beckman threatened again in the fourth on base hits by O’Connor and Brock Marbach. But Reid Rausch coaxed Nick Offerman into a 4-6-3 double play ground ball to get out of the inning.
Cascade added to its lead in the bottom of the inning. Justin Roling reached on a hit batsman and Hoffman walked to set the table for the heart of the Cougars lineup. Reid Rausch drove in his third run with a ground out, Hoffman scored on a throwing error and Reed walked to chase Stelken from the mound for Marbach.
Cooper Rausch scored on a wild pitch to make it 9-0, and Kaleb Topping added an RBI single to give the Cougars the 10-run cushion. They managed only one hit in the inning.
Reid Rausch only struck out one batter, but he allowed only two runners as far as third base. He also pitched out of trouble in the fifth.
“They’re a tough order, 1 through 9, so it was huge for me to be able to spot my offspeed pitches early in counts,” he said. “I was able to get ahead and get a little confidence in myself. And I had all three pitches I could throw for strikes, which was huge.”
Beckman pitching allowed eight walks and one hit batsman. Eight of those runners eventually scored.
“It’s real simple. We gave away too many free passes,” Beckman coach Fred Martin said. “There’s not much to say about this game. The walks killed us. We’ll flush this one pretty quickly. You have to.”
Despite not being in the same conference since the Big Bend disbanded following the 2002-03 school year, the Highway 136 rivals still circle this date on the schedule every summer. But, in the 10 seasons prior to Friday night, most of the games have been rather anticlimactic.
Beckman held a 12-5 advantage in the series from 2009 to 2018, including a 5-1 record in Iowa Class 2A postseason action. And, of those 17 games, only two were decided by less than three runs. Beckman scored a pair of one-run victories during the 2016 campaign.
Cascade, however, won the two previous regular-season meetings, a 12-4 decision last season and a 7-4 victory in 2017.
Earlier on Friday, the Iowa High School Athletic Association placed the two schools in separate substate brackets for the postseason, meaning they couldn’t meet until the state tournament.
Cascade will compete in Substate 2, District 4 with Clayton Ridge, North Fayette Valley, Oelwein, Starmont and Waukon. The other side of the substate includes Crestwood, Forest City, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura, Lake Mills, New Hampton and Osage.
Beckman has been assigned to Substate 3, District 5 with Bellevue, Camanche, Monticello, North Cedar and Goose Lake Northeast. The other side of the substate includes Durant, Wellman Mid-Prairie, Iowa City Regina, Tipton, West Branch and West Liberty.