Thursday, July 09, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

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.


Furnish misses qualifying for match play

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. -- Megan Furnish shot an 8-over par 80 Tuesday in the second round of the 63rd U.S. Girls Junior Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club.

Furnish finished stroke play at 15-over par. She missed making the match play portion of the event by five strokes.

Furnish played the back nine first on Tuesday and had three bogeys, a double-bogey and triple-bogey. She came back and played the front nine in even par, recording her only birdie to go along with seven pars and a bogey. She had played the back nine in 2-over par Monday when she shot a 79.

Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand was low scorer in stroke play, finishing at 4-under par.

Furnish is a senior-to-be at Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Her next tournament is the 36th PGA Junior National Championship that will be held Aug. 2-5 at the Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind.


Prairie earns date with No.2 Mason City

The Cedar Rapids Prairie baseball team might as well give the other team a few runs at the start of each game. It's a risky formula, but it seems to work.

The Hawks came from behind to defeat Waterloo West in the first round of the Class 4A substate tournament on Friday and they did it again Monday night against Linn-Mar.

Prairie yielded four quick runs in the top of the first inning against Linn-Mar, but showed resiliency and battled back to top the Lions, 5-4, in the substate semifinals at Prairie.

“Any other day I think I would have been a little uptight and nervous, but when we got down it kind of took the pressure off of us,” said Prairie Coach Matt Thede. “It was almost like what do we have to lose? We might as well go out and hit the ball and throw some more strikes.”

Prairie (26-15) advanced to face second-ranked Mason City (32-9) in the substate finals Wednesday night in Mason City. The winner of that game will qualify for the Class 4A state tournament that starts next Wednesday in Des Moines.



The toughest 9 holes in Metro golf

Fall high school golf, that inconsistent season that begins in brilliant warmth and often ends in blustery and cool weather, is only a couple weeks from getting under way. Metro golfers play a variety of courses during the season and, therefore, encounter some very interesting holes.

The four Cedar Rapids municipal courses – Ellis, Jones, Gardner and Twin Pines – along with Hunters Ridge and Airport National all will host high school events this fall. All have their share of challenging holes, all of them influenced by weather conditions.

Here’s one person’s view of the Toughest Nine Holes in the Metro area (with two criteria: every course must be represented, and country clubs are excluded because not everyone has access to them):

9. GARDNER #8. This pick may be influenced by my personal perils because I can’t remember ever hitting this green in regulation. It’s a fairly straightforward par-3, a downhill shot measuring 218 yards from the blues. The green is guarded by a marsh on the far left and a couple bunkers. It’s a wide, narrow green with a lot of undulation, depending on the pin placement.

8. TWIN PINES #16 – This 401-yard par-4 can be even more difficult if the wind is blowing from the south. A dogleg left, it requires a well positioned tee shot that favors the right side. The second shot is blind to an accessible green. Not overly difficult but it requires two well-struck shots.


Albaugh keeps hopping, helps Marion win

Dusty Albaugh hit running backs Monday morning, then hit baseballs Monday night.

It was a long, hot and busy day for the Marion High School senior, but he enjoyed it.

Albaugh went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs Monday night as the Indians belted Union, 16-2, in five innings to win a Class 3A district title at Marion.

Marion (25-16) will face Williamsburg (19-19) in the substate finals Wednesday night at Benton Community High School in Van Horne for a berth in the Class 3A state tournament next week.

Albaugh began the day in Ames, practicing with the North squad for the annual Shrine Bowl football game that will be held at Jack Trice Stadium this Saturday night.

He practiced football in pads for 2 1/2 hours Monday morning in sweltering heat in Ames - "It was hot," he confirmed - then scooted home to prepare for Monday night's baseball game.

"I came down here and hit right away (for batting practice)," he said. "There's really no break."

Albaugh said he felt fine after the game.

"Not too bad, actually," he said. "I'm sure tomorrow morning it will be going against me and what my mind is telling me to do."


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