Thursday, May 23, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Christensen belts 3 homers against Ottumwa

A total of 1,530 players were selected in the amateur baseball draft this week, but none of the 30 Major League teams decided to pick Austin Christensen.

Maybe nobody is paying attention.

Christensen belted three more home runs Wednesday night and drove in seven runs as top-ranked Kennedy clubbed Ottumwa, 16-6, in six innings at Kennedy Field.

Christensen is hitting .684 with 10 homers and 27 RBIs in 13 games, but nobody thought the 6-foot-4 slugger with the sweet swing was worthy of being drafted.

"I wanted to get drafted. I'm disappointed nothing happened," Christensen said after his powerful display. "But they (the scouts) knew what they were doing. They have other guys that they have more confidence in.

"That's OK," he said. "I'll go to college and hopefully in a couple of years, we'll look forward to it (the draft) again."


25 years for Linn-Mar and Prairie? Really?


I received another dose of in-my-face reality Monday as I read the column of my colleague Mark Dukes. I almost fell off my chair when I read that next year will be 25 years since Linn-Mar and Prairie joined the Mississippi Valley Conference.

I still remember taking in what was the first football game for the Lions in the MVC, when they hosted Kennedy at Armstrong Field on a beautiful early fall night. It was beautiful for the Lions, anyway. They scored early and often in the win against the Cougars that night! That had to be one of the first MVC sports contests in Linn-Mar history, a history as Mark pointed out, that has been very good of late.

Let's not discount the Hawks either. Prairie has many banners on the gym wall celebrating both conference and state championships in various sports. It has been a very good thing for those two schools to have joined the MVC.

But what about the future?


J-Hawks win pitchers' duel

No. 9 Jefferson and No. 12 Waterloo West both enjoy the luxury of having one of the top softball pitchers in the state.

It showed Wednesday night at Jefferson when J-Hawks junior ace Hannah Petersen and Waterloo West senior ace Jadyn Spencer hooked up in a classic pitchers' duel.

Petersen and the J-Hawks, literally, squeezed out a 3-1 victory at home.

The nightcap was rained out.

Jefferson (8-1, 5-0 Mississippi Valley Conference) scored all three of its runs in the fourth inning, laying down four consecutive bunts after a leadoff single by junior Rachel Sedlacek. Junior Kailey Drake had a bunt single before West committed an error on a sacrifice bunt by Petersen that scored Sedlacek and Drake. A sacrifice bunt by junior Kenna Fry moved courtesy runner Ashley Madsen to third and she scored on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Maddie Koolbeck.

Spencer, who has signed to play college ball at Alabama, dominated the J-Hawks through the first three innings, giving up no hits and striking out five. She finished with 10 strikeouts and allowed only two hits.

Petersen escaped a jam in the first inning when, with one out and West runners at first and third, she recorded a pair of strikeouts. After escaping the first, Petersen dominated the Wahawk lineup. She also spun a two-hitter, allowing an unearned run in the sixth inning.


Eight more Iowans chosen in MLB draft

Eight more Iowans were selected during the Major League Baseball first-year player draft Wednesday.  It was the third and final day of the draft and the final 20 rounds were held.

Cedar Rapids Washington right-hander Dakota Freese was chosen by the Chicago White Sox in the 34th round. He was the only current Metro athlete selected. Former Marion prep Matt Holland, an outfielder from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, was selected by the Phillies in the 22nd round Tuesday.

David Kerian, an infielder from Sioux City Heelan, was the only other current Iowa prep selected. He went to the Washington Nationals in the 42nd round. He has accepted a scholarship offer from Iowa Western Community College.

Two other Sioux City area athletes were chosen Wednesday. Damek Tomscha, a freshman third baseman from Iowa Western who was the Gatorade prep baseball player of the year in 2010 at Sioux City North, went to the Florida Marlins in the 36th round. Former Heelan prep Mike Bisenius, an outfielder from Wayne State, Neb., was taken in the 48th round by the Nationals.

Wartburg senior right-hander Brad Watson, a former Urbandale prep, went to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 37th round. Former Burlington prep Travis Whitmore, a senior infielder at the University of Pittsbugh, was taken by the San Diego Padres in the 35th round. University of Illinois centerfielder Willie Argo, a Davenport Assumption product, was picked by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 43rd round. Cody Gabella, a freshman shortstop at Southeastern Community College who prepped at West Burlington Notre Dame, was chosen by the Padres in the 43rd round.

A total of 15 Iowans were taken in the draft. A total of 1,530 players were chosen over the draft's three days.


Matt Holland drafted in 22nd round by Phillies

Matt Holland was following the Major League Draft on his computer Tuesday, round by round and pick by pick, when suddenly his name appeared and his dream came true.

The Philadelphia Phillies selected Holland in the 22nd round late Tuesday afternoon as the 691st pick overall, and 10 minutes later a Phillies scout called to discuss what happens next.

"It's a surreal feeling, that's for sure," Holland told the Metro Sports Report Tuesday night.

Holland, who graduated from Marion High School in 2006, had an oustanding year at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi this season and was named a Louisville Slugger All-American. He hit .391 with 10 homers and 53 RBIs for the Islanders.

Holland said he'll probably meet with the Phillies scout on Wednesday or Thursday, then head straight to Clearwater, Fla., by the end of this week to begin his pro career. He's a left-handed hitter outfielder with good power.

Holland, 23, has already graduated from college, which doesn't give him much leverage with the Phillies in terms of negotiating a contract. He plans to sign and get started.


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