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Tuesday, August 30, 2016
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Metro Sports Report

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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Cougars sweep error-prone Saints

Jacob Henry began Wednesday's doubleheader against Xavier with a 6.46 earned run average for the Kennedy Cougars, but the senior right-hander was in top form against the Saints.

Henry spun a five-hit shutout as Kennedy blanked the Saints, 6-0, in the second game of their Mississippi Valley Conference twinbill at Ken Charipar Field.

Kennedy took the first game, 15-11, when the mistake-prone Saints committed eight errors and walked 11 batters.

The sweep left the struggling Saints at 3-19 overall and 1-15 in the conference. Kennedy raised its marks to 15-8 overall and 9-7 in the league.

Henry, a senior right-hander, struck out four batters and lowered his ERA to 4.20, knocking more than two runs off his average. He kept the ball around the plate all night and walked only two batters, both in the third inning.

Kennedy jumped to a 10-1 lead in the top of the third inning in the opener, but the Saints sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third and scored eight runs to pull within 10-9.

The Cougars scored three times in the fifth inning for a 13-9 lead, but Xavier responded with two markers in the bottom of the fifth to pull within 13-11. Kennedy put the game away with two more runs in the seventh for the 15-11 victory in the three-hour marathon.

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Saints mired in 8-game losing streak

The Xavier softball team did some very good things during its doubleheader against Linn-Mar Tuesday night, but the bottom line unfortunately was the same story for the struggling Saints.

Linn-Mar swept the Mississippi Valley Conference games, 2-1 and 10-5, leaving Xavier with an eight-game losing streak and an unsightly overall record of 7-19.

Maria Steffen pitched a strong game for the Saints in the opener and deserved a better fate, but the Xavier right-fielder lost a fly ball in the sun to give Morgan Braughton a gift triple in the fourth inning and the Lions promptly scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to snap a 1-1 tie.

The Saints put runners at first and third with one out in the top of the seventh, but Braughton struck out the next two batters to finish a complete game and the victory.

Christina Lincoln and Braughton had two hits for Linn-Mar in the opener.

Cassie Himmelsbach and Olivia Richards socked solo home runs for Xavier in the second game and the score was tied, 5-5, heading into the bottom of the fourth, but the Lions scored two runs in the fourth and added three more runs in the sixth to put the game away.

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