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Saturday, July 23, 2016
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Metro Sports Report

Saints swept by Kennedy juggernaut

The Xavier Saints enjoyed some good moments on Senior Night Thursday, but they were no match for the softball juggernaut that resides at the other end of 42nd Street NE in Cedar Rapids.

The third-ranked Kennedy Cougars began swinging the moment they arrived at Bob Erusha Field and never stopped until they swept the Mississippi Valley Conference twinbill, 11-3 and 18-7, with 40 hits in the doubleheader.

Kennedy raised its records to 31-3 overall and 22-2 in the conference as it battles Iowa City West for an MVC title. Xavier fell to 13-24 overall and 9-15 in the league with the season dwindling to just a few more games.

The Cougars feature lusty hitting and aggressive baserunning that puts pressure on all opponent all night. Sydney Kinney led the onslaught with seven hits in the doubleheader, including a 5-for-5 performance in the nightcap, but it was hard to find a Cougar who did not have a good night at the plate.

Tianna Drahn, Ashley Hamilton, Peyton Baskerville and Camryn Jeffords all had five hits for Kennedy, while Megan Weber and Jenna Schwartzhoff had four hits apiece. Hamilton socked a home run and drove in five runs in the nightcap and Jeffords had four RBIs in that second game.

The Saints swung the bats themselves, but not to the same degree as the Cougars. They collected 10 hits against Schwartzhoff (12-3) in the first game and they had nine hits against Ashley Winterowd (12-0) in the second contest.

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Nearad picks Cyclones, Carter joins Indiana St.

New Iowa State softball coach Jamie Trachsel has landed one of the top prospects in the nation after just three weeks on the job.

Taylor Nearad, who was named the National Junior College Player of the Year this season at Kirkwood, committed to Trachsel and the Cyclones Wednesday morning after a quick recruiting process.

Gabi Carter, an All-American shortstop for Kirkwood this season as a freshman, has signed with Indiana State and plans to join the Sycamores for the coming school year.

Nearad plans to return to Kirkwood for her sophomore campaign in 2017 before enrolling at Iowa State for the 2017-18 school year.

"I'm very excited," Nearad said. "They contacted me probably two weeks ago. Jamie actually came and saw me at Kirkwood and we visited for about an hour.

"I went on a visit there and I just felt like I was supposed to be there."

Nearad, from Solon, hit .602 with 30 home runs and 129 RBIs this season. She was a consensus first team All-American and was named the National Player of the Year for all divisions of junior college softball.

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Saints batter Wash with 34 hits

The Xavier Saints have had a tough season so far with a 13-22 overall record, but they could be catching fire in time for the Class 4A playoffs that start next week.

Xavier collected 34 hits Tuesday night and hammered Washington, 11-1 and 12-4, in a Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader at the Bob Erusha softball diamond at Xavier.

The Saints lost nine straight games earlier this month, but now they've won six of their last eight and are looking better.

Xavier combined lusty hitting, good pitching and tight defense to roll past the Warriors.

"They're putting it together," said Coach Nikki Gahring. "They're really coming together and things are starting to mesh. There's a whole lot of talk, a whole lot of energy."

The softball must have looked as big as a beachball to the Saints hitters Tuesday night. Olivia Richards was 6-for-6 in the doubleheader, Kailee Becker was 6-for-7 and Katie Langholz went 6-for-8 to lead the onslaught.

Richards and Stephanie Wehr drove in four runs in the doubleheader and Wehr had a game-winning double to end the opener by the mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wehr was 4-for-7 overall, Cassie Himmelsbach was 3-for-5 and Jamie Feltes went 3-for-8.

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Walford sweeps twinbill from Watkins

WATKINS - The Walford Hogs swept the Watkins Mudhens, 3-2 and 11-5, in an Iowa Valley League doubleheader at Watkins Sunday.

Norway's doubleheader at Fairfax was canceled due to wet grounds.

Juan Gonzales pitched five shutout innings for Walford in the first game of its twinbill against Watkins and was the winning pitcher. Diogenes Ceballos relieved in the seventh inning and got the save.

Walford took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI base hit by Tyler Butz. The Hogs made it 3-0 in the third, with the big hit an RBI double by Brennan Hammer.

Watkins pulled within 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Nick Brown and they made it 3-2 in the seventh on an RBI hit by Jack Strellner. Ceballos relieved with the tying run on base and finished the victory.

Ty Mougin and Jake Stenberg had two hits for Walford. Brown and Strellner had two hits for Watkins. Luke Franzenburg pitched a complete game for Watkins.

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Kass helps Red Top sweep Williamsburg

WILLIAMSBURG - Fritz Kinzenbaw has been a coach, general manager and goodwill ambassador for Red Top in the Iowa Valley League for many years and often has good advice for his players.

Billy Kass is glad he listened.

Kass belted a pair of home runs and went 5-for-6 Sunday as Red Top rolled to a pair of easy wins over Williamsburg, 14-3 and 11-0, with both games lasting only five innings on a steamy afternoon in Williamsburg.

Kass bunted for a base hit in Game 1 before socking a grand slam, a testament to the words of wisdom he received from Kinzenbaw a long time ago.

"He's been telling me that for years: He says if you get that first bunt down, all of a sudden you start seeing the ball a little better and that's when one gets out of the ballpark," said Kass. "It's something that stuck in my mind for awhile after eight years of playing for him."

Kass finished his day with a solo home run in the second game when he went 2-for-2 with a double, homer, walk, hit-by-pitch and scored three runs.

Red Top lifted its record to 9-1 with the sweep, good for a three-game lead in the Iowa Valley League standings at the mid-point of the campaign.

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