Dyersville Beckman erases superb Ege outing
DES MOINES - Cherokee's Cool-Hand Lukes had a serious failure to communicate any runs in a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to Dyersville Beckman in the Class 2A semifinals of the Iowa State Baseball Championship here Thursday night.
Making their fifth consecutive State Tournament appearance, the Braves came away empty here Thursday night, failing to score against tough Trailblazer pitcher Isaac Willenbring, who allowed just three hits while striking out 13 Cherokee batters in his shutout bid.
Cherokee pitcher Cody Ege was dominant against Dyersville Beckman in the State Tournament semifinals Thursday in Des Moines. Photo by Roy Tucker
Cherokee's Cody Ege, who previously had never lost a high school game he pitched, took the bitter 1-0 setback with a yeoman effort, as his teammates could not support him with a single run in the seven inning thriller. Ege, too, struck out 13 batters, and allowed four hits.
Beckman (34-10) scored the winning run in the fourth inning when Nate Hall scored on Travis Rahe's RBI single.
Counting the Braves (26-4)exciting 1-0, 11-inning quarterfinal victory over Gilbert last Monday here, the Braves managed just one run in 18 innings of State Tournament play, and the pitching combo of Ege and Monday's winner Matt Koch allowed just a single run in those same 18 innings.
Cherokee's Matt Pitts dodges an inside pitch during this at-bat, as the ball nearly strikes him in the leg during the Class 2A State Tournament semifinal contest against Dyersville Beckman Thursday in Des Moines. Photo by Paul Struck
The Braves loaded the bases with one out in the first inning after Tyler Jones and Matt Koch walked, and Ege lined a missile back up the middle that would have scored two runs had it got through the infield, but the blistering shot hit Willenbring in the back and trickled out to shortstop, limiting Ege to a single, and advancing Jones and Koch on the bases. Willenbring then struck out the side to thwart that threat.
All told, the Braves stranded six base runners, all but one on inning-ending strikeouts by Willenbring.
Jones, Ege, and Tony Hunt had the hits for the Braves.
Cherokee base runner Kyle Schuck slides safely into second on this steal attempt against Dyersville Beckman Thursday at the State Tournament. Photo by Roy Tucker
"We certainly had our chances," said a disappointed Cherokee coach Scott Koch. "That's been our bug-a-boo all season long - failing to score runs when the opportunities presented themselves. And it really cost us tonight. We played 18 innings (at State) and scored just one run and allowed just one run. I can hardly believe it. We did face two pretty good pitchers, though."
Beckman played Fort Dodge St. Edmond at 2 p.m. Saturday in the 2A finals here. The Gaels (34-3) beat Solon 8-4 in nine innings preceding the Cherokee game, which didn't begin until 9:25 p.m. and ended after 11 p.m.
Cherokee won the State title in 2007 and was runner-up last season, before losing Thursday's semifinal game.
The Braves ended their season with an outstanding 26 - 4 mark.
A disconsolate batch of Braves wait patiently for the State Baseball Tournament hardware following Thursday's bitter 1-0 loss to Dyersville Beckman in the Class 2A semifinals. Photo by Paul Struck