Winning the program’s first ever state championship would be a memorable enough moment for the Dannebrog-Cairo-Boelus seniors.
But what DCB went through to gain that trophy is something this team certainly will never forget.
DCB wrapped up its championship run in the American Legion Class C state tournament by beating Pender 4-1 Wednesday.
DCB was the only team in the four seniors state tournament brackets to go undefeated. And it did that in a brutal half of its bracket.
All five of DCB’s games came against the other three teams that made up the tournament’s final four.
“It was a pretty gutsy effort by the kids,” DCB head coach Joe Noakes said. “In two games we came from behind in the late innings. In the first game against Pender, we scored three runs in the top of the seventh. Against BDS we were down and scored a couple of runs in the sixth inning and then held on.
“We were seeing everybody’s best pitcher. It was the same way in the district tournament. To go 8-0 in the postseason is pretty amazing.”
The final match-up was between two programs that had finished as state runner-up before but never claimed the top spot. DCB has won two state titles at the juniors level.
DCB’s win ensured that the team wouldn’t settled for another runner-up trophy and kept Pender from forcing a second game.
Pender knocked DCB out of last year’s state tournament by handing it both of its losses and also defeated the team in Boelus in the second game of the regular season this year.
“It was a pretty big boost beating them the first time in the state tournament,” Noakes said. “We’ve developed a pretty good tradition of playing each other, and they’ve gotten the best of us most of the time.”
That come-from-behind rally gave DCB (28-4) an additional confidence boost, and it carried that all the way through the final.
“The boys after the (champonship) game said they never had a doubt,” Noakes said. “We had Spencer Meyer on the mound, and he got out of trouble almost every inning. They left 10 guys on base and got the leadoff runner on in almost every inning.
“Our defense played a great game. Spencer only struck out two, and we’re used to more than that. But our defense came through.”
With a strong nucleus returning from last year, DCB had high expectations. But there is never a guarantee that potential pays off.
“We struggled with numbers at juniors and seniors,” Noakes said. “Our younger kids stepped up for us. In the state tournament, all 13 players contributed. That was great to see.”
The team roster is Elijah Boersen, Noah Boersen, Bosten Caspersen, Dawson Caspersen, Payton Dowse, Bryce Gorecki, Kolby Gorecki, Spencer Meyer, Ben Noakes, Carter Noakes, Juan Perez, Tanner Simdorn and Austin Simmons.
DCB will lose Dawson Caspersen, Noah Boersen, Simmons and Dowse for next year. That’s the team’s entire outfield and its catcher.
But that means that the entire infield and pitching staff return. DCB will be ready to try and create more memorable moments.