Sunday, July 24, 2016
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Leonard powers Warriors by Saints

Trey Leonard has spent most of the spring with the Cedar Rapids Washington track team and helped the Warriors finish second in the 4x100 relay at the state meet on Saturday, so he rarely practiced with the baseball squad prior to the start of the season with the Metro Tournament on Monday.

The lack of practice did not hurt him a bit.

Leonard came out swinging Monday and went 5-for-5 with a three-run homer and five RBIs as the Warriors smacked the undermanned Xavier Saints, 15-6, in the quarterfinals at the Jefferson field.

Leonard scored four runs, smacked two balls off the outfield fence and had two stolen bases in his virtuoso performance. He saw the ball well and hit it hard all day.

"It looked like a beachball," he said. "It was a good hitting day. The swing felt good and obviously it showed with where the ball went."

Prairie trimmed Spencer VanScoyoc and the third-ranked Jefferson J-Hawks, 3-2, in the second game Monday night at Jefferson. Kennedy beat Linn-Mar, 13-5, and Mount Vernon edged Marion, 3-1, in the first-round games at Mount Vernon.

The tournament continues Tuesday at both sites. Xavier and Jefferson are scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. at Jefferson, with Washington and Prairie meeting in the winner's bracket at 7 p.m.

Linn-Mar faces Marion at 5 p.m. at Mount Vernon, with Kennedy meeting Mount Vernon in the winner's bracket at 7 p.m.


Filer named Xavier volleyball coach

Xavier High School has hired Austin Filer as its new varsity volleyball coach.

Filer brings a variety of volleyball coaching and leadership experience to the Xavier program, having served most recently as a head coach/sand coordinator at Cedar Rapids' Adrenaline Volleyball Academy (2014-present) and as an assistant volleyball coach at Mount Mercy University (2012-2015).

At Adrenaline, Filer qualified three teams for beach nationals and led his team to a national ranking. During his time at Mount Mercy, Filer played a major role on head coach Deb Marlin's staff in helping to turn the program around as the Mustangs qualified for the National Tournament for the first time in program history in the 2015 season.

"We are excited to bring in a coach of Austin’s caliber," said Tom Keating, Xavier High School principal. "He has a wealth of knowledge and experience and we look forward to the energy and competitive level he will bring to our program."

"I want to thank Activities Director Mike Winker and Principal Tom Keating for this amazing opportunity and the tremendous faith that they have shown in me leading this program," said Filer. "Xavier High School has a tradition of academic and athletic excellence in the Midwest that is second to none.


Price is right for Xavier softball

Nikki Price must have an abundance of energy and patience.

She's the proud mother of an active 10-month-old baby boy, she teaches sixth and seventh graders at Oak Ridge Middle School and she coaches high school girls on the Xavier softball team.

That's a busy day for anyone.

Price welcomed her son, Braxton Michael, into the new world last July, just a few days after the Saints finished the 2015 season with a 24-16 record.

"We've been blessed," Price said before practice Wednesday. "He's super-fun and happy and crawling and talking and on the move all the time.

"He's a fun little guy and loves being outside, so he'll enjoy the summer, that's for sure. I'm ready for him to start sleeping through the night, but it's been good so far."

Price, entering her fourth official season as head coach, expects to enjoy the spring and summer with the Saints, despite the loss of Erin Drahozal and Morgan Breitbach to graduation. Drahozal hit .402 with nine homers and 32 RBIs and compiled a 9-7 record and 1.68 ERA as a pitcher, while Breitbach hit .358 and patrolled center field like a sponge.

"The energy level has been good, the workouts have been good," said Price. "They're working hard and getting better every day."


Muhl signs 11 freshmen for Kirkwood hoops

Introductions could be in order when the Kirkwood women's basketball team assembles for practice this fall.

Coach Kim Muhl has signed 11 freshmen and hopes to add a pair of college transfers to the mix as well, giving the Eagles as many as 13 new players on the roster for the 2016-17 campaign.

Only two players - Deleyah Harris and Rylee Voss - plan to return from this year's club as sophomores, giving Muhl a big rebuilding job as he enters his 28th year at Kirkwood.

Junior college coaches have to rebuild their teams every year, since nobody can play for more than two seasons at this level, and Muhl sounds unperturbed by the challenge.

"I think it's the nature of the beast at this level," he said. "The freshmen come in a little bit hungrier. Some figure it out, some don't. It's OK."

Kirkwood had six freshmen on the team this past season, but Amber Lemons, Mesha Wheatly, Ariana Dampier and Dominique Jennings will not be returning from a club that finished 27-6. That leaves Harris, a starting guard, and Voss, a reserve center, as the only two returnees.


Kirkwood softball places 5th at nationals

CLINTON, Miss. - The Kirkwood Eagles lost both of their games at the NJCAA D2 national softball tournament Friday and tied for fifth place.

Kirkwood lost to Jones County, 7-6, in the winner's bracket semifinals, then lost to Phoenix, 5-2, in a loser's bracket game and was eliminated from the tournament.

The Eagles finished the season with a 58-6 record.

Kirkwood, which was seeded No. 2 in the tournament, went 2-2 in the tournament in Mississippi. Jones County, which is seeded No. 3, advanced to the winner's bracket finals against LSU Eunice. Phoenix, which is seeded No. 1, stayed alive in the loser's bracket.

Kirkwood trailed Jones County, 7-2, heading into the bottom of the seventh inning in the winner's bracket semifinals. The Eagles loaded the bases and pulled within 7-3 on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Nearad. Lexi Ferrari struck out, but Maddie Hansen belted a three-run homer to pull the Eagles within 7-6 with two outs.


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