Beckman advances to 2A State Baseball Championship Game - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Beckman advances to 2A State Baseball Championship Game

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The top-ranked Beckman Catholic Blazers will get a chance to defend their Class 2A state tournament title after cruising to a 13-2, five-inning victory over the six-ranked Roland-Story Norsemen on in the semifinals Thursday night at Principal Park.

The Blazers scored 13 unanswered runs after falling behind 2-0, and have now won 12 of their last 13 contests heading into Saturday's championship game.

Beckman broke a 2-2 tie with five runs on seven hits in the third. Levi Lawrence led off the inning with a single and was standing on second after Ian Ross dropped a sacrifice bunt down the third baseline. The Blazers proceeded to connect for five straight base hits, including RBI singles by Joey Lehmann and Adam Noethe and a two-run double by Todd Engelken. Engelken was thrown out at home for the second out, but Mitch Steger drove in one more run before the third out was recorded. After the dust settled, the Blazers sent 11 to the plate and held a 7-2 advantage after three.

Beckman followed the five-run third with a six-run fourth. Unlike the third inning, Beckman capitalized more on walks than hits to put a big number on the scoreboard. The Blazers drew five free passes in the frame, including bases-loaded walks by Lawrence and Nathan Digmann. Lawrence later scored on a wild pitch. Noethe, who went 3-for-3 with two RBI in the game, drove in the first run of the inning on an RBI single and Ross knocked in a pair to cap the scoring and give the Blazers the 13-2 lead.

Noethe (6-2) pitched a scoreless fifth to preserve the win and ended the game with two runs allowed — one earned — on six hits in five innings for the Blazers.

Roland-Story got off to a good start by scoring two quick runs in the first. The starting pitcher and leadoff man Zach Hovick singled and stole second base to represent the first run. Evan Johnson drove him home on a double and touched the plate himself after Alex Muhlenburg ripped an RBI single, giving Roland-Story a 2-0 lead.

Hovick went 3-for-3 and scored a run to lead the Norsemen at the dish.

But the lead was short-lived. The Blazers scored two runs of their own in the second inning — one off Engelken's first of two RBI doubles on the night and a second manufactured by a double steal — before breaking the game open in the third.

Beckman will play the winner of Thursday's second semifinal game between second-ranked North Polk and fourth-ranked Kuemper Catholic. The Class 2A final game will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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