Monday, October 19, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Cougars maul Hempstead; back to state

Cody Bell blasted a pair of home runs, including one in Kennedy's nine-run second inning Wednesday night that fueled the Cougars' 15-3 romp past Dubuque Hempstead in the Class 4A substate baseball tournament at Kennedy.

The Cougars had five home runs -- three in the second inning -- among their 18 hits.

But it was the lead-off home run in the seventh inning that carried the most clout.

Senior Austin Christensen, in his last at-bat at the Kennedy field, swatted his 19th home run of the season and 42nd of his career. The latter tied him with his older brother Chad for the most career home runs by a Metro player.


Indians' rally sends Marion to state tourney

VAN HORNE -- The Marion baseball team had been denied an appearance to the state baseball tournament for three straight years, losing in the substate championship games in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

With his team playing in Wednesday night’s Class 3A substate championship game against Williamsburg, Marion Coach Steve Fish was worried about what he was going to say to his team if they lost again.

“I told myself all day to stay positive but when things were starting to go bad, I was wondering what could I say this year,” said Fish.

After the final out was recorded, and Marion players and coaches stormed the field in celebration, Fish’s worries had vanished.

In an exciting game played at Benton Community High School, Marion defeated Williamsburg 6-5, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Marion its second state tournament berth in school history.

Marion (26-16) is seeded fifth and plays No. 4 seed Storm Lake (26-8) in the Class 3A quarterfinals Tuesday at 12 p.m. at Principal Park in Des Moines.

“This means a lot,” said senior right fielder Dusty Albaugh. “Last year we had a bitter taste coming to this place and we just wanted to get redemption so bad. Three years in a row is too many and we just wanted to get back to the state tournament.”


The stories of 2010-11 - No. 4

As we come to the end of the 2010-11 high school sports year here in the Metro area, it seems like a good time to look back at the top sports stories, at least to this broadcaster.

This list is not right or wrong, and it certainly is open to interpretation. But looking back, I really believe these were the most interesting and intriguing stories of the past year.

I hope you enjoy.

No. 4 - Kennedy football's postseason run

Go back in time, if you would, to the spring of 2008. The Iowa High School Athletic Association confirmed what many coaches and administrators had been talking about for several months, that the IHSAA football playoffs would be expanding. Not only expanding but doubling!

At first most coaches were dead set against this move. The IHSAA was doing this only to make more money on their cash cow sport and the playoffs would be watered down by so many teams with losing records, was the thinking.

After awhile many of the coaches changed their minds and welcomed the expanded playoffs, 32 in each class as opposed to 16 schools in the past. We also knew that sometime in the future a team that had a less than stellar record during the regular season would jump up and have a great playoff run.

Little did we know it would be a Metro team that would be the first.



Prairie runs into buzz-saw at Mason City

MASON CITY - Matt Thede squeezed 26 wins and a bunch of records out of a Prairie High School baseball program that had struggled for years this season, but the Hawks fell short in their bid to make the state tournament Wednesday night.

Jake Peter tossed a tidy three-hitter as No.2 Mason City spanked Prairie, 6-0, in the Class 4A substate finals at Roosevelt Field in Mason City.

Prairie won only 13 games last season and had a 10-13 record at one point last month, but the Hawks won 16 of their last 19 games to finish 26-16 and set a school record for victories.

Thede shook hands with all the seniors and thanked them for a job well done. They led the Hawks from obscurity to their first winning season in 17 years.

"The seniors have set a precedent for us," Thede said. "I told our guys it would be a serious tragedy if we didn't celebrate our season with a huge banquet at the end.

"We're going to get together and celebrate the right way. I can't tell you how much I love them and how proud I am of these guys."

Peter handcuffed the Hawks and was never in serious trouble. Chaz Boots hit a soft single in the third inning, Anthony Gagliardi singled down the third-base line in the fourth inning and Tyler Mougin singled to right-center in the fifth inning for Prairie's only hits on a hot night in Mason City.


Kennedy, Marion, Prairie have eyes on state

Two Metro coaches with more than 500 wins apiece will be trying to earn a spot in the state baseball tournament tonight.

So will a young whippersnapper with 39 wins who might be the Metro Coach of the Year this season.

Bret Hoyer and Steve Fish are the cagey veterans who have combined for 1,075 victories in their high school careers. Matt Thede is the new kid on the block, but all three of them have a chance to reach the promised land tonight.

Hoyer will send No.6 Cedar Rapids Kennedy (30-8) against Dubuque Hempstead (21-18) in a Class 4A substate at Kennedy, with the Cougars trying to defend the state title they won in 2010.

Fish will send Marion High School (25-16) against Williamsburg (19-19) in a Class 3A substate at Benton Community High School, with the Indians hoping to snap a frustrating string of three straight losses in substate finals in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Thede probably has the toughest job, taking Cedar Rapids Prairie (26-15) on the road for a battle at No.2 Mason City (32-9), but the Hawks are hot and have won 16 of their last 18 games.

All three games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. The winners advance to the state tournament in Des Moines next week.


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