Monday, October 19, 2020
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Today's Line-up

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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Hedtke hurls Marion to historic victory

DES MOINES - Tyler Hedtke threw Storm Lake a curve Tuesday afternoon.

As a result, the Marion Indians are headed straight to the semifinals of the Class 3A state baseball tournament for the first time in school history.

Hedtke tossed a masterful two-hit shutout as the Indians blanked Storm Lake, 3-0, in the first round of the 3A state tournament at Principal Park.

Marion (27-16) will face top-ranked Solon (37-4) in the semifinals Friday at noon in a battle of Wamac Conference teams. Solon dumped Waukon, 11-0, in five innings Tuesday in the first round.


Former Metro preps in pro baseball

RYAN SWEENEY (Xavier, Oakland Athletics) -- Came in as a defensive replacement in left field in Tuesday's 6-1 win over the Rays.
Year-to-date: Batting avg. -- .279 (46-165), HR -- 0, RBI -- 11, 2B -- 6, 3B -- 1, R -- 19, SB -- 1.

MATT HOLLAND (Marion, GCL Phillies) -- Started in left field Tuesday and was 0-for-3 in the Phillies' 2-0 loss to the GCL Tigers.
Year-to-date: Batting avg. -- .246 (15-61), HR -- 2, RBI -- 8, 2B -- 4, 3B -- 0, R -- 15, SB -- 1.

SCOTT SCHEBLER (Prairie, Ogden (Dodgers)) -- Started at designated hitter Tuesday and was 0-for-5 in Ogden's 8-7 loss to Billings.
Year-to-date: Batting avg. -- .316 (48-152), HR -- 6, RBI -- 35, 2B -- 10, 3B -- 4, R -- 22, SB -- 1.

KELLEN SWEENEY (Jefferson, Bluefield (Blue Jays)) -- On the disabled list with a hand injury. Has not played since June 30.
Year-to-date: Batting avg. -- .114 (4-35), HR -- 0, RBI -- 1, 2B -- 1, 3B -- 0, R -- 4, SB -- 0.

NATE WOODS (Xavier, Jamestown (Marlins)) -- Jamestown was not scheduled to play Tuesday.
Year-to-date: Batting avg. .194 (6-31), HR -- 1, RBI -- 2, 2B -- 2, 3B -- 0, R -- 3, SB -- 0.


Terrell Sykes is Kennedy's little big man

Terrell Sykes never listened when anyone said he was too small to play baseball.

He didn't listen when he was 4-foot-4, and he doesn't listen now that he's 5-foot-4 and one of the best players for one of the best high school teams in the state.

Sykes is an all-star second baseman for Kennedy High School and one of the reasons the Cougars have a chance to win their second straight Class 4A state title this week.

He's hitting .443 in the leadoff spot for the sixth-ranked Cougars, who will play Fort Dodge in the quarterfinals of the state tournament at Principal Park in Des Moines Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Sykes just smiled when anyone said he was too small. He smiled, then proved them wrong.

"I just went out there and did my thing," he said.

And how tall is he?

"Five-five, I'd say," he replied, smiling. "I'm 5-4 without shoes, 5-5 with shoes."

Kennedy Coach Bret Hoyer has been watching Sykes since he was 9 or 10 years old and playing for the Junior Cougars. Sykes was probably 4-foot nothing at the time.


Cougars join elite teams in state history

DES MOINES - Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School has quietly become one of the most frequent visitors to the state baseball tournament in Iowa history.

The Cougars are tied with Mason City Newman for the most trips to the state tournament in the 21st Century, with both schools qualifying nine times since 2000.

In addition, Kennedy is tied with Bancroft St. John for the second-most trips to the summer state tournament during any 12-year span in history with nine trips apiece, according to research conducted by the Metro Sports Report. Norway tops that chart with 10 trips in 11 years from 1981 through 1991.

The Cougars qualified for the state tournament in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and again this year. Bancroft St. John made nine trips in 12 years from 1975 through 1986 and from 1977 through 1988.

The sixth-ranked Cougars (31-8) will face Fort Dodge 29-12) in the opening round of the Class 4A tournament on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Principal Park in Des Moines.


Opportunity for rare feat awaits Kennedy

Sustained excellence in high school sports is difficult to capture. Athletes and coaches often come and go. A bad break here or there can ruin an otherwise spectacular season. State championships are tough to come by.

This week, Kennedy’s baseball team is seeking a repeat of a Class 4A state baseball state championship. You have to go back 60-some years to find another Metro area baseball program that has repeated at the state level, and that high school no longer exists. Wilson High School, now a middle school, won state championships in 1947 and ’48 and again in 1950.

This is not to suggest there hasn’t been excellent baseball in the Metro area. But if you’re talking back-to-back state titles, the fraternity is very small.

Kennedy has done it in a variety of ways, most notably consistency in coaching. Bret Hoyer is at the helm now and he has consistently produced quality, if not championship teams. Before him, Bill Herkelman had solid programs year after year. The Cougars also have developed an excellent youth program that has served the high school squad well.

State championships are not the only measure of excellence, but they are the one common denominator for every school to achieve.


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