Sunday, July 22, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

All six IVL teams likely to make state

Loras Schulte spends a lot of days this time of year gathering information.

As the president of the Iowa Amateur Baseball Association, Schulte is the man ultimately responsible for putting together the annual IABA state tournament, contested over the first two weekends in August.

The Iowa Valley League is always well-represented in the tournament. Last year, the final three teams came with the IVL with the Stars eventually downing Red Top to capture the crown.

When the 12-team tournament field is finalized sometime next week, it is almost certain that half the field will consist of the six IVL teams.

"I can't remember the last time the league has been this competitive from top to bottom," Schulte said. "We've had 18 one-run games and seven two-run games. There have also been more extra inning games than I can ever remember."

With two weeks remaining in the regular season, the Stars lead the way at 11-5 with Norway bring up the rear at 6-10. Williamsburg was the only team to not make the tournament last year, but the Red Sox have rebounded with a solid season in 2018.


Rima stepping aside as Prairie coach

Todd Rima confirmed Monday that he'll be stepping aside as the head baseball coach at Cedar Rapids Prairie after this season.

Rima is also the head baseball coach at Kirkwood Community College. Between the two jobs, he's been coaching more than 100 games per year  along with countless practices and college recruiting.

"Looking forward to time with my family!," he told the Metro Sports Report Monday afternoon.

Rima and his wife, Molly, have three children. Jalen Rima plays football at the University of Northern Iowa and they have two young daughters, Bailey and Payton.

Rima has compiled a 129-34 record in four years at Prairie for a winning mark of 79.1 percent. He led the Hawks to the Class 4A state title in 2016 during his second year at Prairie.


Delzell, Kraus toss gems in IVL

Kevin Delzell of Walford and Brady Kraus of Watkins turned in  outstanding performances on the mound in the Iowa Valley League on  Sunday.

Delzell pitched all 10 innings and allowed only three hits as Walford  nipped Norway, 1-0, in the second game of their doubleheader at Walford.

Kraus tossed a one-hit shutout as Watkins blanked Red Top, 5-0, in the first game of their twinbill at Watkins.


WALFORD - The Walford Hogs swept their doubleheader against Norway to  reach the .500 mark for the season at 8-8.

Walford won the first game, 4-2, despite getting only hit in the contest thanks to a pair of untimely errors by the Bandits. Jake  Gilbert was the winning pitcher for the Hogs.


Stars closing in on IVL repeat

WILLIAMSBURG - "We knew today was big."

Stars player/coach Chico Lizarraga's comment as he packed away his catcher's gear reflected his team's mindset here Sunday.

Williamsburg came into the Iowa Valley League doubleheader one game behind the Stars in the league standings. The Red Sox resurgence had them thinking about a league title.

Cody Bell ended those thoughts, showing the mindset referenced by Lizarraga with both his arm and his bat.

In the opener, Bell escaped a no-out, bases-loaded situation as the Stars came away with a 3-2 victory. The nightcap saw Bell blast a three-run homer to break open a close game, as the Stars completed the sweep with a 10-4 triumph.

The wins pushed the defending league champions to 11-5 with two weeks remaining in the regular season. Williamsburg, which lost two games earlier in the season to rain, fell to 7-7.

"These wins put us where we want to be," a tired, but happy Lizarraga said after the sweep. "We got off to a little bit of a slow start this year, but our hitting and pitching have come around and we're playing good baseball at the right time."

One guy coming around is Bell. Last year's league MVP, Bell flashed his many talents on Sunday. He entered the opener, replacing Austin Czerwiec in the seventh with one runner on. Bell hit Cam Frazier with a pitch and Hogan Penny reached on a bunt single to load the bases.


McFarlane, Robertson shine in IWSL

Haley McFarlane of St. Cloud State and Sydney Robertson of Mount Mercy enjoyed big days in the Iowa Women's Softball League on Sunday.

McFarlane went 5-for-6 with two homers and five RBIs for Ironside Apparel in their two games at Mount Mercy. Robertson also went 5-for-6 with two triples and four RBIs for Emil's Hideaway.

McFarlane and Robertson produced two of the best offensive displays in the two-year history of the league.


McFarlane went 3-for-3 with two long solo homers and three RBIs as Ironside Apparel nipped Hawkeye Convenience Stores, 7-6, in the first game at Busse Field.

Ironside Apparel scored two runs in the top of the seventh to erase a 6-5 deficit on a walk by Tawny Menster (Mount Mercy), a single by Abby Downs (UNI), a single by McFarlane, a single by Natalie Halvorson of Kirkwood and another single by Jessi Butler of Kirkwood.


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