DURANT, Iowa — Dyersville Beckman hit two balls that were in and out of Durant gloves. Durant had two baserunning blunders. It scored only two runs.
Things came in pairs for the Durant softball team Monday night. For the second straight year, a trip to Fort Dodge was halted on its home field.
A three-run, three-hit inning by Class 2A 10th-ranked Dyersville Beckman proved to be the difference as it upset second-ranked Durant 4-2 to clinch its first trip to the state tournament at Durant High School.
With just three upperclassmen on their roster, the Blazers will travel to the Rogers Sports Complex for a quarterfinal contest next Monday afternoon.
“It’s amazing, and it gives the younger girls something to look forward to,” senior shortstop Heather Boeckenstedt said. “For me, this is my main sport so making it in softball is amazing.”
After putting two runners on with back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fifth, a delay halted the Wildcats' momentum.
The home plate umpire needed to be helped off the field. After 10 minutes, the contest resumed with just two umpires.
Ally Happ roped a single to center that scored Kira Schult to make it 4-1, but the freshman outfielder was out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.
After Hannah Happ reached on base with her third walk, Allie Poston poked a single to center that scored Ruby Kappeler. As Hannah Happ was turning to go to third, she overran second and couldn’t recover in time.
Once the elder Happ was called out, the Durant (29-7) hitters went 0-for-7 at the plate.
“We win and lose as a team,” Wildcats head coach Kevin Kaalberg said. “We had been getting timely hits when we needed to. Tonight, we didn’t get them.”
The somber mood took away from one of the bright spots of the game.
Kamryn Meyer, in her final start of her five-year varsity career, earned her 700th career strikeout in the third inning. The Nebraska-Omaha recruit ended the night with 15 strikeouts, nine of them looking.
The senior, who combined for just 54 strikeouts her eighth grade and freshman year, compiled more than 200 in her final season donning the blue and gold.
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“Of course, it’s special,” a teary-eyed Meyer said. “Even though it didn’t go our way, still had a great time. It’s really painful, I can’t even explain how I feel except hurt.”
After the Blazers (29-13) scored first on an errant throw in the third, they put together a two-out rally against Meyer in the fifth.
Neil McDermott walked to set up Boeckenstedt’s RBI single that popped out of the glove of Hannah Happ to double the lead.
Jadyn Welling hit a flare that caused Ally Happ to dive for the ball and as she fell to the grass, the ball fell to the grass for two more runs.
“We could tell she was getting tired,” Boeckenstedt said. “Not quite hitting her spots and we took advantage of that.”
Kaalberg gave credit where it was due, but praised the younger Happ for the play she made.
“Great effort on her part” he said. “Happ covered a lot of ground.”
The fifth inning wasn’t the only chance Durant had to grab the lead.
In both the first and third frames, Durant struck out to strand two runners on base. Beckman starting pitcher Sydney Steffen earned her 23rd win of the season by stranding six Wildcat runners.
“We had opportunities to score,” Kaalberg said. “We need to take advantage of some things early.”
Despite losing his top two pitchers, speed and leadership throughout the lineup, Kaalberg isn’t ready to say the 2020 season will be a rebuilding one for Durant.
“Sometimes good kids are sitting behind other good kids,” he said. “There’s an opportunity to learn from some great leaders. We’ve got work to do just like everyone else.”