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Friday, January 24, 2020
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Metro Sports Report

Prairie stretches win streak to 6 in sweep

The Cedar Rapids Prairie baseball came up with a new slogan this week: Keep the crash rolling.

That's exactly what they did Friday night.

Prairie swept Cedar Falls, 9-7 and 11-5, in a Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader to give the Hawks a six-game winning streak.

The twin-killing lifted Prairie to 16-13 overall and 12-8 in the MVC.

Brennan Hammer moved to the leadoff spot in the batting order and went 4-for-8 with five RBIs in the doubleheader for Prairie.

“I was nervous at the beginning of the year,” said Hammer, a sophomore, “but now I am starting to swing the bat really well and we are having a lot of fun.”

Anthony Gagliardi hit a two-run homer for Prairie in the opener.

“He was due,” Coach Matt Thede said with a smile. “He is definitely one of our leaders.”

The Tigers (14-15, 13-9) had the tying run at the plate in the seventh inning, but the Hawks escaped with the 9-7 victory in the opener.

Prairie jumped to an early 4-1 lead in the nightcap. Cedar Falls rallied and tied the game, 4-4, but the Hawks broke it open from there for the 11-5 victory.

Brayton Carlson led the Hawks in game two, going 3-for-4 with two triples and two RBIs.

Prairie hosts Washington in a doubleheader Saturday at 11 a.m.

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Brian White named Kennedy boys track coach

Some of the top male athletes at Cedar Rapids Kennedy are going to get a tap on the shoulder from Brian White this year while they're walking the hallways at school.

Then they might get tapped again, because White will be trying his best to convince all the top athletes at Kennedy to join the boys track and field team.

White, 40, was named the new track coach at Kennedy on Thursday, succeeding Dennis Roloff.

White is the defensive coordinator for the Kennedy football program and believes strongly in getting all the top athletes at Kennedy - regardless of sport - out for track.

"The way I look at it, track is a great sport, but track will help student-athletes in any sport," he said.

Roloff served as Kennedy's boys track coach from 1997 through this year. He retired after the season as track coach, but will lead the girls basketball program again next season.

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Two will do; J-Hawks split 2-run games

The night ended the way it started Thursday, with Jefferson holding a 1.5 game lead over Dubuque Hempstead in the MVC Valley Division softball standings.

Yet the J-Hawks inched closer to claiming that title.

Two was the winning number on the warm summer evening at the J-Hawk softball field. Both games were decided by two runs in 2-0 shutouts.

Jefferson took a 2-0 victory in the opener behind the left arm of junior ace Hannah Petersen and some timely hitting from sophomore Maddie Koolbeck and junior Carson Burgart.

Jefferson dropped the nightcap 2-0 after allowing two runs in poorly played first inning.

Jefferson (26-6, 19-2) holds the 1.5 game lead over second-place Hempstead (27-4, 18-4) with four games to play. The J-Hawks close their season with conference doubleheaders at Dubuque Wahlert and at Waterloo East next week. Hempstead has a doubleheader at Mississippi Division winner Waterloo West and another at home against Linn-Mar.

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Saints split, lose shot at No.1 seed

The Xavier Saints needed to sweep Dubuque Hempstead Wednesday night to keep their hopes alive of claiming the No.1 seed for the Class 4A substate tournament next month.

Brad Duwe and the Mustangs had other ideas.

Duwe pitched a four-hitter and drove in two key runs as Hempstead spanked Xavier, 5-1, in the second game of their Mississippi Valley Conference twinbill at Ken Charipar Field.

The Saints won the first game, 7-3, but the split means they'll have to settle for the No.2 seed in the substate tournament that begins on July 15.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy clinched the No.1 seed by splitting its doubleheader at Iowa City High Wednesday night. The Cougars have reached the cutoff for determining seeds with a 23-7 record and the Saints (20-7) cannot catch them by Saturday's deadline.

The No.1 seed is important because it could lead to a second-round bye in the substate tournament, but Xavier Coach Dave Schemmel had other concerns Wednesday night.

The Saints had runners at second and third with nobody out in the fourth inning of the nightcap, but their number 4-5-6 hitters failed to produce a run against Duwe with Hempstead clinging to a 1-0 lead. The Saints didn't get a clutch hit all game.

"You've got to get runs on this pitcher," Schemmel said. "He's a good pitcher. He's a competitor, and he throws strikes and he makes you work for everything.

"We had opportunities, but that stat you see in the Major League linescore - hits with runners in scoring position - we didn't have any tonight in the second game. And you can't win games like that."

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The great summer debate

The state of Iowa offers summer baseball and softball.

The other 49 states offer these sports during the spring, or at other times during the calendar year.

Who is right?

This debate has raged for many, many years around the state of Iowa. For some time, athletes did have a choice. The state offered both baseball and softball in the spring and summer, for those kids who could only play one season or elected to play both. Now it's a choice and many times a tough choice.

Baseball and softball are the top two sports in high school athletics that have their participation numbers influenced most by outside factors. Many skilled players have quit playing because these sports are played in the summer months. The season conflicts with both individual and team camps of other sports, jobs and, most notably, a kid's free time during the warm weather when there is no schoolwork to interrupt them.

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Page 1432 of 1547

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