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

Metro Sports Report

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.


Copeland prepares for Notre Dame

Ethan Copeland playing college baseball for Notre Dame is about to become a reality.

The thought of Copeland playing college baseball at any level seemed remote two years ago after a varsity career at Cedar Rapids Prairie.

A solid performer for the Hawks, Copeland was an infielder who helped Coach Todd Rima's team to a 38-6 finish and Class 4A state championship in 2016. The desire to continue playing was there for Copeland. However, the were few offers.

"I wasn't recruited out of high school very much at all," he said. "I had no athletic scholarships offered to me at any point during high school."

Now, two years later, Copeland is playing in the Iowa Valley League, keeping his skills sharp as he prepares to enter Notre Dame in the fall as a junior.

Copeland's original plan had him joining the program at Quincy University in Illinois as a walk-on.

"I wasn't super-happy with the coaching staff and the amount of attention and support they gave me," he said. "I also was probably going to have to red-shirt my first year and I wasn't too excited about that either."

Then, near the end of his senior season at Prairie, he got a call that would change his career path.

"My old USSSA coach, Brian Furlong, told me that he got the head coaching job at Heartland (Community College) in Illinois and wanted me to go with him," Copeland said. "He knew I was signed but just wanted to run the idea by me. I told him about my issues and concerns with Quincy and how they were handling me.


Stars cling to top spot in IVL

The Stars surprised a few folks in the Iowa Valley League last season  by winning the regular-season title and capturing the IABA state crown  a short time later.

They could be doing it again, but this time it's not a surprise.

The Stars split their showdown with Red Top on Sunday at Iowa City  West High School to stay in first place in the IVL standings with  three weeks left in the season.

The Stars have a 9-5 record, followed by Williamsburg (7-5), Red Top  (7-7), Norway (6-8), Walford (6-8) and Watkins (5-7) in the compact  standings. The Stars have another big twin-bill on tap this Sunday at  Williamsburg in another showdown.

Austin Czerwiec, the Pitcher of the Year in the Iowa Valley League  last season, tossed another complete game Sunday as the Stars trimmed  Red Top, 2-1, in the first game of their doubleheader.

Cody Williams and Matt Berst had two hits for the Stars in the  victory. Berst collected an RBI and Alex Hayden had a key double.  Connor McCaffery socked a solo home run for Red Top for his third  homer in three weeks.


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