Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

KCC softball is No. 7 at nationals

CLINTON, Miss. - The Kirkwood Eagles have drawn the No. 7 seed in the  NJCAA Division II national softball tournament.

Kirkwood (50-15) is scheduled to play No. 10 seed Illinois Central  (23-14) in the opening round of the 16-team tournament Wednesday at  3:30 p.m. at Traceway Park in Clinton, Miss.

With its 50 victories, Coach Eric Frese and the Eagles have won more  games this season than any other team in the tournament.

The DMACC Bears, who finished ahead of Kirkwood in the ICCAC  conference standings this year, are seeded No. 2 in the tournament. If  DMACC and Kirkwood both win their first-round games, they would clash  in the second round on Thursday.


Bice helped Prospect Meadows get off the ground

Richard Bice would love to grab his old glove and play a ballgame at Prospect Meadows this year, but it’s probably not going to happen.

You see, Richard is 87 years old and played his last varsity baseball game for Woodward High School in 1951.

There will be games at Prospect Meadows this year for 8-and-under kids, but there won't be any for 88-and-under grandfathers, no matter how willing they are.

Nonetheless, just the thought of playing ball again puts a twinkle in Richard's eye. He’d love the opportunity.

“Oh, you betcha,” he said with a big smile, relaxing at his long-time home in Marion.

The thought brought back fond memories.

“We used to use cow-chips in the pasture as bases,” he said, laughing. “And we played all the time.

“Yeah, I love ball. I think it’s the greatest thing we can do for our community and our young people.”


Eagles crush Dawson, 19-2, for district title

GLENDIVE, Mont. - Erin Hocker celebrated her trip home to Montana with  all of her friends from Kirkwood Thursday afternoon.

Hocker pitched a complete game as the seventh-ranked Eagles smashed  18th-ranked Dawson Community College, 19-2, in the championship game  of the district tournament to earn a spot in the NJCAA Division II  World Series.

Kirkwood (50-15) advances to the national tournament May 22-25 in  Clinton, Miss.

London Jackson belted her 22th home run in the second inning to give  Kirkwood an early lead and the Eagles piled up the runs as the game  went along. There was no mercy rule in the district finals and the  Eagles showed no mercy.

Lauren Kuch socked a three-run homer and pinch-hitter Skylar Ryan hit  a grand slam in the seventh inning as the slugfest continued.

Eric Frese will be taking his team to the national tournament in his  first year as head coach. Frese had never been a college softball  coach before coming to Kirkwood this season, but the Norway native has  vast experience as a college baseball coach and had no trouble  adjusting.


No. 7 Eagles rally at district tourney

GLENDIVE, Mont. - The Kirkwood softball team has been living  dangerously in postseason tournaments this year, but so far the Eagles  are still alive and kicking.

The seventh-ranked Eagles rallied to split two games with 18th-ranked  Dawson on Wednesday and will face the Bucs again on Thursday in the  championship game of the district tournament in Montana.

Kirkwood (49-15) and Dawson (43-4) will tangle on Dawson's home field  Thursday at 1 p.m., with the winner claiming a spot in the NJCAA  Division II national championships.

Dawson blanked the Eagles, 1-0, in the first game Wednesday in the  best-of-3 district tournament. The Bucs then held a 3-2 lead over the  Eagles after three innings of the second game, putting Kirkwood on the  verge of elimination, but Kirkwood's bats came alive and the Eagles  soared to a 12-3 victory to force Game 3.

Kirkwood also had to rally in the regional tournament against NIACC  last weekend after losing to NIACC in the winners bracket final, then  whipping NIACC twice in the championship round.

Dawson scored in the top of the first inning of the first game  Wednesday for a 1-0 lead, and that turned out to be all the scoring in  the ballgame as Kirkwood collected only five hits. Kirkwood pitcher  Erin Hocker, playing in her home state of Montana, allowed one run on  seven hits and was the tough-luck loser.


Jordan joins Board at Prospect Meadows

Angela Jordan knew she wanted to help when she heard about plans to build a major youth baseball and softball facility in Linn County.

Angela and her husband, Dennis, have three sons, all of whom played travel ball in various parts of the Midwest when they were younger. They did an awful lot of traveling.

“We were in Omaha, Chicago, Kansas City. Everywhere,” said Angela, who lives in Marion. “We had to spend more time in Des Moines than we could here because we didn’t have the facilities.

“When they started working on Prospect Meadows, we just knew we had to get involved and help with the fundraising, because it had to happen. It just had to happen.”

Private fundraising efforts have netted more than $6.5 million, providing about half the funds for the new complex. The grand opening is set for Thursday, May 23 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m., an open house at 5 p.m. and games at 5:30.

Prospect Meadows will feature eight regulation baseball fields this year and a Miracle Field for people with special needs. Eight more fields are scheduled to open in 2023.


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