By Jon Swisher-Sports Director:
The Beckman Blazer Baseball team improved their record to 29-11 with a 5-0 shutout victory over Highway 136 rival Cascade in a Class 2A Substate 4 Final last night on Exide Field in Manchester. It was the fourth time in seven seasons that Beckman has ended Cascade’s year. Very solid pitching and defense to go along with plenty of offense was the key for the Blazers as they won their 18th Substate contest in 27 tries since 1968, qualifying for the program’s 18th state tournament and sixth in the last nine seasons dating back to 2009. Blazer Junior Jackson Bennett threw 6 and two-third innings, allowing just 3 Cougar hits, 2 free passes and striking out 9 batters as he improved his record to 6-0. Interim head coach Fred Martin talked about his teams mindset and their great effort that led to the win:
The #teamJenk theme has been used since basketball season honoring Hall of Fame Coach Tom Jenk Jr. who was diagnosed with brain cancer last December. Jenk guided the program to 16 state tournament appearances in 42 seasons. Coach Martin explains how much the program means to himself after being an assistant coach for the previous 16 seasons and how he has been dealing with his new role this year with the help of assistant coaches Connor Klostermann, Jimmy Boeckenstedt and Ryan Meissner:
Klostermann, a 2015 Beckman graduate was a 3-year starter for the Blazers and was a part of three straight state trips which included back to back titles in 2012 and 2013. He has been the third base coach this season filling in for Coach Jenk:
The Blazers lost to Pleasantville in first round play last season after beating Cascade in the Substate Final. Bennett shared his thoughts from a players perspective:
Beckman knows they will play on Monday but will have to wait til tonight to find out the time and their opponent for their 2A quarterfinal as the Iowa City Regina at Wilton game was rained out and will be made up tonight. The Blazers have the possibility of being the top-seed after No. 1 New Hampton was upset by Denver 4-3.
In Class 1A-
The top-rated North Linn Lynx improved their mark to a program record of 41-2 with a 2-0 win over IMS at Cedar Rapids Prairie. The Lynx move on to the state tournament for the 2nd time in school program history and the second in three seasons. North Linn will have to wait to find out their opponent until two 1A games are finished tonight. Newman Catholic of Mason City was leading Bishop Garrigan of Algona 4- 1 when it was suspended due to weather in the top of the 4th inning, it will resume tonight at 7pm in Clear Lake. The Burlington Notre Dame at Lisbon game will be played in its entirety tonight.
Class 3A and 4A Substate games will also take to the fields across the state tonight.