Saturday, August 18, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Yegge leaving Kirkwood for DePaul

Kirkwood softball coach Joe Yegge is leaving the Eagles after 11 years to become the associate head coach at DePaul University in Chicago.

"Yes, that is true," Kirkwood sophomore Lauren Kuch said Thursday afternoon. "He just told us this morning."

Yegge compiled a 537-112 record with the Eagles, including a 49-13 mark this past season. He led Kirkwood to eight ICCAC conference titles and six trips to the NJCAA Division II World Series.

The Eagles finished 49-13 this season and reached the World Series in Mississippi.

Tracie Adix-Zins was named DePaul's new head coach on July 5. She was an All-American pitcher for the Blue Demons during her playing days. DePaul is an NCAA Division I school that competes in the Big East Conference.

Yegge held a meeting in his office Thursday morning with four of his current players to let them know he was leaving. Other players participated in the meeting by speaker phone.

"Honestly, I was a little bit surprised," said Kuch. "He's always wanted to go somewhere big, and this is a great opportunity for him."

Kuch played for Yegge at Cedar Rapids Prairie for five years before joining him at Kirkwood for this past season. Yegge stepped aside as Prairie's head coach after the 2017 campaign.


Stars forfeit 2 games; IVL title in doubt

The Stars have been stripped of two of their victories in the Iowa Valley League this season for using an ineligible player, possibly costing them their second IVL title in a row.

Adam Stolley helped the Stars sweep a doubleheader against Williamsburg on July 15, but Stolley was not on the roster at the time and the Stars have been forced to forfeit those games to the Red Sox.

The Stars thought they had clinched the IVL championship this past Sunday when they swept a doubleheader from Watkins, giving them a three-game lead with two games left in the campaign, but now that's on hold.

Williamsburg can win the title by splitting a doubleheader against Red Top this Sunday in the final games of the year. The Stars could still win the title by sweeping their twinbill against Norway, if Williamsburg loses both of its games against Red Top.

Stolley, who played at Linn-Mar and Mount Mercy, has been a member of the Stars for the past three years, but he was omitted from their official roster when all six teams submitted their lists at a preseason league meeting on May 22 in the Amanas.

"We left him off the roster by accident," Stars Manager Chico Lizarraga said Wednesday night. "It came back to bite us in the butt.


Ketelsen will pitch for Hawkeyes

Adam Ketelsen has changed his mind about pitching for Central Michigan University next season.

The former Kirkwood star will be playing for the Iowa Hawkeyes instead.

"After getting a release from Central Michigan University, I couldn't be more excited to announce that I've decided to further my academic and baseball career at the University of Iowa," Ketelsen announced on his Twitter account Wednesday.

"Thank-you to all my friends, family and coaches that made this possible," he wrote. "Go Hawks!"

Ketelsen, a left-hander from Mount Vernon, compiled an 8-2 record and 2.92 ERA at Kirkwood this season, with 88 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings. He helped the Eagles reach the Junior College World Series for the first time since 1999.

Hunter Lee, another top pitcher for Kirkwood this year, also has joined the Hawkeyes.


Berst ready for next step at Iowa

Matt Berst certainly looks the part.

That "look" would be one of a starting catcher for the University of Iowa next season.

The former Cedar Rapids Kennedy all-state catcher was a late addition to the Hawkeye baseball program last summer after originally committing to Illinois State. The 6-foot, 200-pounder spent his freshman year backing up Tyler Cropley, who was selected in the eighth round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Washington Nationals.

With Cropley's departure, a huge void needs to be filled. Berst, who is spending the summer playing for the Stars in the Iowa Valley League, is one of the contenders to replace Cropley.

He had a stellar prep career at Kennedy. Twice Berst was named first-team all-state by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association. He batted .416 as a senior with six home runs despite playing with a shoulder injury much of the season.

Former Cougar teammates Zach Daniels and Sammy Lizarraga were part of the Iowa program and sold Hawkeye Coach Rick Heller on his skills. Heller made a late offer to Berst and he jumped at the chance to play for the Hawkeyes."

"Coach Heller had a lot of confidence in me and he wants us to bring that to the field every day," Berst said. "He really stresses doing things the right way, all the little things including being a good teammate and playing hard."


Stars win second IVL title in row

It was poetic justice that it happened where so many of them honed their skills in high school.

Sunday's Iowa Valley League doubleheader between the Stars and Watkins was played at Herkelman Field on the Cedar Rapids Kennedy campus. Many of the Stars played as preps for the Cougars under Coach Bret Hoyer and the late Bill Herkelman, for whom the field is named.

The Stars looked right at home Sunday, winning a pair of hard-fought games, 4-1 and 2-1, to clinch their second IVL title in a row with one week left in the regular season. The sweep pushed the Stars to 13-5 while Watkins, which has lost six one-run decisions this summer, fell to 6-10.

Seven of the 12 players who played in Sunday's twinbill are Kennedy graduates.

"It's fun, the friendships you have built up, playing with past Cougars," said catcher Matt Berst, now a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes. "It's just so special to have fun and play the right way."


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