Mitch Steger trotted to first base after his bases-loaded walk delivered a state baseball championship. Moments later, he was face down, buried under a pile of teammates.
Beckman of Dyersville scored both of its runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on a pair of bases-loaded walks to beat North Polk of Alleman in the Class 2-A state baseball championship 2-1 Saturday at Principal Park.
“I was on the bottom of the pile, eating dirt,” Steger said. “But that dirt tasted pretty good.”
Steger helped top-ranked Beckman (36-6) beat No. 2 North Polk for the second straight year in the final.
North Polk took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Neither team scored until Beckman’s last-chance rally.
“You’ve got to score, and we didn’t,” North Polk coach Dave Middleton said. “We couldn’t score enough runs to win.”
North Polk finished 31-5. Reed Smith doubled in the first inning, moved to third base on Russell Greene’s single and scored on Brandon Cory’s groundout.
Starting pitcher Jacob Hadaway of North Polk, an all-stater, threw three scoreless innings before leaving the game due to injury. Hadaway walked in the fourth inning and stole second base. He injured an ankle while sliding on the play and was carted off the field. He was taken to Mercy Medical Center for treatment, Middleton said.
“It almost made me want to cry, but we were going to win that game for him,” first baseman Brandon Cory said. “We just couldn’t pull it out.”
Grant Lang pitched the remainder of the game for North Polk, which finished 31-5.
Both teams had three hits. Beckman’s Joey Lehmann (13-0) struck out eight and threw a complete game.
Beckman loaded the bases in the seventh with one out. Coach Tom Jenk Jr., who won his fourth state title, told his batters to crowd the plate and take a strike.
Nathan Digmann drew a walk to tie the score. Steger followed with another base on balls, jogging to first with his teammates rushing out of the dugout.
“It was a weird feeling; not the way I pictured it,” Steger said.
His school won a state title for the fifth time. Six Iowa programs have won more.
“Beckman will surprise you, and we are a baseball school,” Lehmann said.
North Polk took runner-up honors for the fourth time. The Comets ended a third consecutive trip to state.
“Three state tournament appearances in three years, you can’t ask for much more,” said Cory, a senior.
North Polk – 100 000 0 – 1 3 0
Beckman – 000 000 2 – 2 3 0
==== CLASS 2-A TOURNAMENT SCORES ====
Roland-Story 2, Mount Vernon 1
Dyersville Beckman 3, Waterloo Columbus 2
Carroll Kuemper 5, Spirit Lake 1
North Polk 2, Albia 1 (13 innings)
Beckman (Dyersville) 13, Roland-Story 2
North Polk 6, Carroll Kuemper 2
Beckman (Dyersville) 2, North Polk 1