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Tuesday, July 26, 2016
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Metro Sports Report

Ecker succeeds Bob Brooks at KMRY sports

Nobody remembers who replaced Lou Gehrig at first base for the New York Yankees after the "Iron Horse" had to retire. And few people probably remember who replaced Cal Ripken for the Baltimore Orioles when his legendary streak came to an end.

Someday, I might be the answer to a trivia question like that: Who succeeded Bob Brooks as the sports director at KMRY after Brooksie passed away following eight decades as a broadcasting legend?

Rick Sellers and Eric Walker, my new bosses at KMRY, have decided to give me a chance as the "new kid" who will deliver the sports in Brooksie's old 10-minute time slots at 4:50 p.m. and 5:50 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 1450 AM and 93.1 FM. I'm excited and somewhat apprehensive about the new assignment, but there are many good people at the station who will help guide me through.

I've been a print and digital journalist all my life, including 27 years at The Gazette and the past 5 1/2 years with the Metro Sports Report, so the thought of sitting behind a microphone and talking for 10 minutes at a time is a little daunting.

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Meyers belts 2 slams for Saints

Sam Meyers had never hit a grand slam in a baseball game before Friday night.

Now he's done it twice.

Meyers belted two slams in the same game Friday as the Saints slaughtered Waterloo West, 24-0, in 3 1/2 innings in the nightcap of their Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader at Ken Charipar Field.

The Saints also coasted in the first game, 12-0, in 4 1/2 innings.

Meyers socked his first grand slam in the bottom of the first inning of the nightcap when the Saints scored 15 runs. With such a big early lead, Coach Bob Cataldo began emptying his bench and used a pinch-hitter for Meyers in the second inning.

"I didn't want him to get a big head," the coach joked later.

Cataldo had already decided to give Meyers another chance to hit in the third inning, and sure enough Meyers deposited another grand slam over the fence in left field for two slams and eight RBIs in one game.

Meyers really enjoyed that second trip around the bases, especially when he spotted his teammates gathered at home plate to greet him after his remarkable feat.

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Saints win on Steffen's 4-hitter

VINTON - The girls on the Xavier softball team like to pile into their white school vans for road trips so they can sing, listen to loud music and relax before ballgames.

The formula worked Thursday night when the Saints blanked Vinton-Shellsburg, 3-0, in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A regional tournament in Vinton on a four-hitter by Maria Steffen.

Now comes an even longer trip for the Saints, who will make the two-hour trek to Pella Saturday night to face the Dutch in the regional semifinals. They don't seem fazed a bit.

"It will just be longer for them to be excited and listen to loud music," said Coack Nikki Gahring. "That's what they do.

"They enjoy the van rides. It's kind of their thing. They love being in the van and travelling."

Xavier lost in the regional semifinals in 2013, 2014 and 2015 - all three times on their home field - so Gahring welcomed the opportunity to open the 2016 playoffs on the road.

"I think they were very relaxed being on the road," she said.

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Rettenmeier tosses shutout for Red Top

Ben Rettenmeier pitched a shutout as Red Top blanked Norway, 2-0, in the first game of their Iowa Valley League doubleheader in Norway Sunday.

Norway rebounded with a 6-3 victory in the nightcap to split the twin-bill.

Elsewhere, Williamsburg and Watkins split their doubleheader in Williamsburg.

RED TOP 2-3, NORWAY 0-6

NORWAY - Rettenmeier is normally the closer for Red Top, but he tossed all seven innings in the complete-game victory.

Rettenmeier allowed seven hits in the ballgame. Norway bunched three of those hits in the second inning, but failed to score.

Red Top took a 1-0 lead in the opener on a single by Reid Bonner, a walk and an RBI single by Tyler Howe. Red Top made it 2-0 in the sixth on a double by Cale Henke and an RBI single by Ryan Rumpf, who had two hits for the winners.

Brady Corson pitched five strong innings for Norway and allowed only one run on four hits. Mitch Walser had two hits for the Bandits.

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Wood hopes to pitch for Hawkeyes

FAIRFAX - Elijah Wood was nervous before he pitched for Walford in the Iowa Valley League on Sunday because he knew Iowa Coach Rick Heller was sending one of his assistants to watch him throw, but he channeled that nervous energy into a strong outing that might land him a spot with the Hawkeyes.

Wood struck out seven batters in four innings and was the winning pitcher as Walford dumped Fairfax, 11-1, in the second game of their doubleheader at the Fairfax field.

Walford won the first game, 3-1, and jumped ahead of Fairfax into second place in the Iowa Valley League standings.

Wood, a 6-foot-4 left-hander, lives in Ainsworth, which is just a short 20-minute drive from Iowa City, and he grew up cheering for the Hawkeyes. He attended Washington High School and pitched the last two years at Marshalltown Community College, so now he's looking for an NCAA Division I school to continue his career.

Heller has not offered a scholarship yet, but the Iowa coach will probably get a favorable report from Sunday's game.

"I would very seriously consider it," said Wood. "It's close to home, I could come home and go deer hunting every weekend. It would be really cool if I could get in there. I hope they liked what they saw today."

Wood had a modest 3-5 record and 4.66 ERA at Marshalltown this past season, but those numbers should come with an asterisk. He had surgery this past December to remove a seven-inch blood clot in his left shoulder, a problem caused by a rib that affected the blood flow.

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