Sunday, January 19, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Kellen Sweeney

Kellen Sweeney on the mend in Florida

Kellen Sweeney went to a mall in Dunedin, Fla., on Saturday to kill a little time.

That's how it is for ballplayers on the disabled list. Time goes slowly when you're hurt.

Sweeney, 19, fractured a small bone at the base of his left thumb in late June while playing for the Bluefield (W.Va.) Blue Jays in the Appalachian League and has not played since June 30. The injury is near his left wrist.

He got caught in a rundown and fell. "When I fell back, I guess I tried to break my fall with my wrist and that's what happened," said Sweeney, who played high school ball at Cedar Rapids Jefferson.

The initial X-rays, taken in Bluefield, did not reveal the fracture, but they knew he was hurt. They eventually sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays' training facility in Dunedin, where an X-ray revealed the fracture and the extent of the injury.

It took a while to figure it out. "Probably at least two weeks," he said. "For two weeks I didn't know exactly what it was."

Sweeney missed all of July and now has missed the first week of August. He played in only nine games at Bluefield in the Short Season Class A league and has little to show for it.

He went 4-for-35 for a .114 batting average, then got hurt. "I started off slow, but I was starting to make good contact with the ball when I got hurt," he said.

Mark Dukes

Metro prep sports heating up again

And, they’re off ... at least officially.

Family vacations are in the books, hanging out with friends is down to a minimum and the dead period of activity in high school sports is over.

Another year of Metro area high school sports begins this week, even before school starts. Practice begins for football, boys and girls cross country, boys golf, girls swimming and volleyball. The first competition of 2011-12 is this week, with the Mississippi Valley Conference golf meet slated Thursday at Twin Pines in Cedar Rapids.

To be completely accurate, the new era of Metro high school sports actually began last week when Cedar Valley Christian School began practice for its inaugural season of eight-man football. The Huskies will play an abbreviated schedule this season, starting with a trip to Maynard to play West Central on Aug. 19.


Steve Koepke owns City Amateur golf title

The guys on the Cedar Rapids Jefferson golf team should listen carefully to their coach when practice begins Monday.

He's the top amateur golfer in Cedar Rapids again this year.

Steve Koepke fired his third sub-par round in three days Sunday and won the 2011 Cedar Rapids City Amateur title by nine strokes with a 54-hole total of 201.

Koepke had rounds of 68 at Gardner Golf Course on Friday, 65 at Jones Park on Saturday and 68 at Ellis Park on Sunday to finish at 13-under par for the tournament.

Scot Glasford and Kurt Hockaday tied for second place at 4-under-par 210.

Koepke had a three-stroke edge over Glasford entering the final round, but Koepke fired a 4-under 68 at Ellis while Glasford shot a 2-over 74 to end the suspense.

Koepke, 38, also won the City Amateur title in 2009 and has strung together five straight top-5 finishes since 2007 with two titles, two second-place finishes and a fourth-place showing.

"This is my granddaddy of all events," said Koepke. "I love the City Am."

Dan Kellams

The summer game: Memories of a Marion boyhood

(Third in a series)

For sports-loving high school boys in Marion during the 1950s, the year had four seasons. They were football, basketball, track and baseball.

You could go out for cross country instead of football if you wanted to, but not very many boys did.

There were no other high school sports. All five were coached by one man, Les Hipple. He was a very demanding coach who enforced strict training rules, worked his players into top condition and insisted that they learn, very specifically, the fundamentals of each sport.

His methods worked, and his teams won more football games, more basketball games, more track championships and more state cross country championships than any other Marion coach.

But in one season of the year, Hipple changed his approach radically. And his record showed it. In his decade or more as baseball coach, Marion lost far more games than it won. The beauty of it was that no one cared.

Baseball at Marion was not an official high school sport, although the school district helped fund the program. It operated under the aegis of the American Legion, and the uniform jerseys bore the name of Stuber Motors, the Ford dealer in town.

Dakota Freese

Freese plays waiting game with White Sox

Dakota Freese keeps waiting for the Chicago White Sox to call and make an offer.

The White Sox selected the 6-foot-4 pitcher in the 34th round of the draft on June 8, but still have not made an offer.

"No, they have not," Freese said Thursday night.

Have they said when they'll get back to you?

"No, they have not," he said.

The clock is ticking. The deadline for signing draft picks is Aug. 15, which is one week from Monday.

Freese, 19, graduated from Cedar Rapids Washington this spring. He spent part of the summer with the Washington baseball team, pitching in five games, but spent the bulk of the summer with the Chi-Town Cream, a travel team in the Chicago suburbs.

He's signed a letter-of-intent with LSU-Eunice, a junior college in Louisiana. If he doesn't sign with the White Sox in the next 10 days, he'll go to college.


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