Reaching the Class C American Legion seniors state tournament is no longer something Dannebrog-Cairo-Boelus just hopes for.
It has become something that DCB expects to accomplish.
Now, after doing just that for the third consecutive year, DCB is hoping to make a deep run in this year’s tournament when it starts up Saturday in Syracuse.
“These are experienced kids,” said head coach Joe Noakes, who coached the DCB juniors to a top four finish at state last season. “Some of them went to state last year as juniors and there were quite a few back (from last year’s seniors team). Everyone on the team has state experience, and it’s the third year in a row for the seniors.”
With that experience back, DCB entered the season expecting to be a high-caliber team once again. It hasn’t disappointed while compiling a 22-4 record.
“Our pitching has been fairly decent and we’ve been solid defensively,” Noakes said.
DCB received some especially strong pitching performances while going undefeated to win the Area 5 tournament on its home field.
Spencer Meyer led the way with a perfect game in a 4-0 victory over St. Paul. Meyer struck out 14 of the 21 batters that he faced, and he is in line to start DCB’s state opener at 6 p.m. against Syracuse.
The host team finished runner-up to Shelby-Osceola-Stromsburg in the Area 3 tournament after entering as the No. 4 seed.
“Syracuse plays a lot of (Class) A teams and B teams from its area, so it is better than its record shows,” Noakes said.
Elijah Boersen gave up four hits to win a 2-1 pitcher’s duel against Sutton in the championship game. He will be available to pitch on Sunday.
Offensively DCB has been a little more up-and-down, but Dawson Caspersen has been a solid force at the plate all season.
“He’s an outstanding hitter,” Noakes said. “He’s batting around .500 and has been our leader all year.”
He hopes that DCB’s experience really pays off as the team truly hits the road for a state tournament after playing at relatively nearby Central City and Albion the past two years.
“I don’t think we’ll be nervous,” he said. “We’ll have some game-time jitters, but everybody on the team has state experience. We want to make a deep run. We’re not just happy to be going.”
DCB could have a chance to make that deep run if it can duplicate its performance from its area tournament.
“We have to do what we’ve been doing,” Noakes said. “We’ve been solid all year. If we get beat, it means we were beaten by a better team.
“We want to enjoy this experience, but we want to make sure that we show up ready to play.”
DCB is joined by two other area teams in the Class C tournament. SOS faces Hartington at noon while Twin River takes on Pender at 3 p.m.