Friday, January 24, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Former Metro preps in pro baseball

RYAN SWEENEY (Xavier, Oakland Athletics) -- Started in left field and was 0-for-3 in the Athletics' 1-0 win over the Florida Marlins.
Year-to-date: Batting avg. -- .280 (37-132), HR -- 0, RBI -- 9, 2B -- 5, 3B -- 1, R -- 15, SB -- 1.

MATT HOLLAND (Marion, GCL Phillies) -- Started at designated hitter and first base in a pair of games Tuesday. Went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored in a 9-2 win over the GCL Pirates that was the completion of Monday's suspended game. Then went 1-for-3 with a run scored in a 3-1 win in the scheduled game against the Pirates.
Year-to-date: Batting avg. -- .364 (8-22), HR -- 1, RBI -- 4, 2B -- 2, 3B -- 0, R -- 7, SB -- 0.

SCOTT SCHEBLER (Prairie, Ogden (Dodgers)) -- Was designated hitter Tuesday and was 1-for-4 with a single in Ogden's 3-2 loss at Orem.
Year-to-date: Batting avg. -- .326 (14-43), HR -- 2, RBI -- 8, 2B -- 1, 3B -- 1, R -- 7, SB -- 0.

KELLEN SWEENEY (Jefferson, Bluefield (Blue Jays)) -- Started at third base and was 0-for-5 with an RBI Tuesday in Bluefield's 8-7 loss to Bristol.
Year-to-date: Batting avg. -- .138 (4-29), HR -- 0, RBI -- 1, 2B -- 1, 3B -- 0, R -- 2, SB -- 0.

NATE WOODS (Xavier, GCL Marlins) -- Started at third base Tuesday in the Marlins' game against the GCL Mets. The game was suspended in the top of the second inning. Woods was hit by a pitch in his only plate appearance, but did not leave the game.
Year-to-date: Batting avg. -- .333 (8-24), HR -- 0, RBI -- 2, 2B -- 2, 3B -- 0, R -- 6, SB -- 0.


Christensen ties 2 marks; Cougars, Saints split

Austin Christensen has been setting records all season with his uncanny ability to smash a baseball.

Now he's written his name into the Kennedy High School record book as a pitcher, too.

Christensen tied the school mark for career victories Monday night as the fifth-ranked Cougars smashed No.8 Xavier, 18-1, in four innings in the first game of a Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader at Kennedy Field.

Xavier won the nightcap, 6-5.

Christensen collected the 26th win of his prep career, matching Danny Bales for the most victories in school history. Bales compiled a 26-7 mark at Kennedy from 2001 to 2004, while Christensen has posted a 26-6 mark since 2007.

"I'm very happy to have my name by his," Christensen said. "I remember watching him when I was a kid. He was an absolute stud. I've got some work to do still."


Christensen joins list of great Metro players

I have no idea how Austin Christensen ranks in the annals of Metro baseball. We’ll leave that debate to others who have seen a whole lot more games and players.

His season is far from over, but already the Kennedy senior has compiled a .600 batting average, 13 home runs and 37 runs batted in.

The fact Christensen is hitting .600 is remarkable enough, but also consider the restraints on composite bats that were put into effect this year. The baseball isn’t supposed to come off the bat like a missile, unless you’re a guy with superb talent like Christensen.

I don’t like to get into debates about the top players in Metro history, or even the top players at a particular school. Times are different from decade to decade. Equipment is different from year to year. You can’t compare competition levels, or the players that hit before or after the great ones. And we all know official scorekeeping isn’t exactly perfect
some places.

I do know there have been some remarkable performances in recent history by Metro players.



John Lewis retires as Kirkwood baseball coach

John Lewis is 63 years old and wants to spend more time with his four grandchildren.

He's found a way to do it.

Lewis confirmed Monday he's retiring as the head baseball coach at Kirkwood Community College after 32 years, four trips to the junior college World Series and 1,095 victories.

"Reflecting back, it was a great run," he said. "I guess I spent half my life at Kirkwood."

Lewis was an assistant coach at Kirkwood for one season in 1979, then became the head coach in 1980. He's been at the helm ever since, cranking out successful teams on a regular basis.

"He worked hard to get everybody to play at their best level," Xavier baseball coach Dave Schemmel remarked. "I'm impressed with the consistency with which his teams played. Season-in, season-out, they're always at the top."

The Eagles finished second at the NJCAA Division II World Series in 1995, placed third in 1998, finished fifth in 1999, placed eighth in 1993 and won numerous conference titles.


Striegel, Rooney deliver J-Hawk split

WATERLOO -- Drew Striegel found himself batting in a clutch situation for the fourth time in Jefferson's last five baseball games when he stepped into the batters box Monday night in the top of the seventh inning against Waterloo West.

For the second time he delivered, stroking a bases-loaded two-run single through West's drawn in infield.

And for the first time, the J-Hawks made it stand up.

Striegel's hit and Michael Rooney's seven strong innings on the mound sent Jefferson past West, 6-4, in the second game of a Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader at Danny Vansyoc Memorial Field.

Waterloo West won the first game, 3-2, scoring the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning. That loss was Jefferson's fourth straight and all were by one run. It was the third consecutive walk-off loss.

"It shows we can play with anybody, but maybe we just kind of play to our opponents' level," said Striegel, whose grand slam against Xavier last Friday gave the J-Hawks a three-run lead in the top of the seventh inning. The Saints came back with four runs in the bottom of the seventh, and then won the second game with a hit in the bottom of the seventh. "It was nice knowing that we could go over to Xavier and they're at the top of the rankings and we could hang with them and almost give them a loss."


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