Maybe nothing will ever be as good as last year’s visit to the Legion World Series, but the Dubuque County Legion team has already taken that first step toward repeating that journey.
The squad claimed the Iowa championship with a 13-3 defeat of Carroll County May 5 in Sioux City, sending them to the regional tourney in August.
The teams reached the final game with records tied after two games in pool play. Carroll won the first game May 4, 6-2, by virtue of a comeback in the fourth and fifth innings.
Dubuque County knotted the series with a 5-0 win later Saturday behind an 80-pitch shutout from Western Dubuque’s Sam Goodman.
Sunday found Dubuque County behind early 1-0, but in the bottom of the second inning, the team came up with seven runs.
“Riley Connolly got things started for us with a big two-run scoring double,” said coach Ryan Hoerner. “After that the guys did a great job with quality at-bats and good defense. You could feel our confidence building during the game and the older guys did a great job keeping everyone in the game.
“I know the older guys are hungry to get back to the regionals for an opportunity to get a chance at doing the run to the World Series like we did last year. They did a great job of getting the younger guys to buy into that goal and getting them hungry to advance.”
Leading the attack in the first game was WD’s Carter Kluesner going 3-for-3. Beckman’s Nick Offerman had two RBIs. Losing pitcher was Wahlert’s Charlie Jaeger.
In the second game, it was WD’s Kyle Lehmann going 2-for-4 and WD’s Damon Jaeger driving in two runs. Goodman fanned eight and walked none, allowing only four hits in the win.
In the third Lehman went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a double. Cascade’s Reid Rausch was 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Wahlert’s Cody Deardorff was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Riley Reed and Riley Connelly each had a pair of RBIs. Casey Perrenoud got the win with 5 1/3 innings of work, 3 1/3 of shutout ball. Lehmann threw the final 1 2/3 frames.
Hoerner added, “That second game, with our backs to the wall, was a great example of a Dubuque County team battling like they do and coming up with a big game. These kids are a great bunch who battle, support each other, love to play the game and have fun.
“I have to give credit to assistant coaches Ronnie Kramer, Jeff Nadermann and DJ Deardorff, who did a great job of game planning all weekend; also to Mike Gehl our Legion Representative for all he does.”
The wins send the team to the Great Plains Regional Tournament in Sioux Falls, S D, Aug. 6-11. The regional winner advances to the World Series in Shelby, N.C., Aug. 12-19.