2012 Iowa Conference champions
CEDAR RAPIDS—Battling its way through the bottom half of the bracket while playing four games in 32 hours, Central College eliminated Buena Vista University, 11-4, and Loras College, 3-0, before bowing out of the Iowa Conference baseball tournament Friday with a 9-0 defeat to Simpson College.
The fourth-seeded Dutch closed the season at 22-19. Central’s seniors racked up 100 wins in their four-year career, the most of any class. No. 5 Simpson, which also handed the Dutch their first setback Friday afternoon, stays alive in the six-team double-elimination tourney and meets second-seeded Coe at 10 a.m. The Simpson-Coe winner meets top-seeded Wartburg College to battle for the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championships.
Dutch bats sizzle—Buena Vista (23-19) held off the Dutch offense in the first inning but Central struck for five runs over the next three frames to push the score to 5-2. Back-to-back two-run shots from designated hitter Robbie Rushing (junior, West Des Moines, Valley HS) and third baseman Adam Ariola (junior, Bloomington, Ill., Normal HS) helped the Dutch erupt for a six-run fifth and lift the score to 11-2.
Buena Vista, the No. 3 seed, attempted a late rally in the bottom of the seventh but starting pitcher Ryan Goetzinger (senior, Mason City) stopped the Beavers after two runs. Goetzinger (3-2) tossed the complete game and allowed two earned runs on 11 hits. He walked a pair and fanned six batters.
“Ryan was unbelievable today,” coach Adam Stevens said. “His last start of his career was probably his best start of his career.”
First baseman Seth Carson (senior, Woodridge, Ill., Downers Grove South HS) went 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI while Ariola drove in three runs and scored twice. Center fielder Sam Stetzel (senior, Perry) and shortstop Jordan Judkins (junior, Marshalltown) each had two hits and scored twice.
Pitching puts away Duhawks—Starting pitcher Ryan Dusil (junior, Cedar Rapids, Kennedy HS) scattered seven hits over seven innings, walked three and struck out five to keep the sixth-seeded Duhawks’ (19-21) offense quiet. Dusil (5-1) also escaped a seventh-inning bases-loaded jam with a crucial strikeout. Reliever Judson McKown (junior, Maple Plain, Minn., Orono HS) completed the shutout and recorded his school-record eighth save of season. McKown gave up two hits in two innings and walked one.
“Ryan had a great performance on the mound and we played great defense behind him,” Stevens said. “Then Judson came in to close the game for us.”
Central struck early and efficiently on offense. Ariola delivered a two-out single to score Stetzel in the first inning while left fielder Zach Zylstra (sophomore, Pella, Pella Christian HS) crossed the plate in the second frame on a single down the left-field line from right fielder Andrew O’Toole (junior, Des Moines, Lincoln HS). The Dutch tacked on another tally in the fourth when Zylstra reached base on a hit by pitch and scored on a Jace Ahrendsen (catcher, junior, Clarence, North Cedar HS) rip to right field.
The Dutch defense left 13 Loras base runners stranded.
Running on empty— Simpson (18-22) silenced the Dutch bats and allowed only four hits. The Storm took advantage of a thinning pitching staff, pounding out four runs in the second frame and five in the fourth.
“Unfortunately, we ran out of steam in our third game of the day,” Stevens said.
Seven Dutch pitchers set foot on the mound but starter Rushing (1-1) was charged with the loss. He allowed four runs on four hits and walked two.
Simpson tallied 13 hits but left 11 base runners stranded. Both teams committed two errors.
Never give up—Like they have all year, the Dutch continued to battle and find a way.
“Our backs were against the wall today and we made it to the final game tonight,” Stevens said. “I loved how competitive we were. We’ve struggled in this tournament the last couple of years and it was great to get a couple of wins today.”
Senior legacy—Central’s senior class compiled a 100-63 (.613) career mark and helped the Dutch win its first outright league title in 64 years.
“Very few Division III teams reach the 100-win mark over four years,” Stevens said. “It’s a big feat and something the guys should be proud of.”
The Dutch graduate six seniors: Goetzinger, Carson, Stetzel, Michael Jontz (West Des Moines, Valley HS), Dirk Lindaman (Ankeny) and Allen Mann (Marshalltown).
“The seniors are an awesome group of guys and I feel privileged to have coached them,” Stevens said. “It’s a tough group to graduate and we’re sad to see them go, but we’re excited about the future and feel good about the young players in the program.”
Carson cracked the school record for season putouts (356) while Judkins topped the mark for assists (121). The team also set school records in the two categories with 999 putouts and 447 assists.