Wednesday, April 08, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

No.5 Cougars trim Warriors for 9th win in row

Kennedy Coach Bret Hoyer had his baseball team practice the dogpile it would use to celebrate a Class 4A substate title a few years ago, just to make sure nobody got hurt and to implant a positive attitude in his players before a big game.

The man is a perfectionist, so it was no surprise he was not entirely happy with his ballclub Friday after its Mississippi Valley Conference game at Washington.

Kennedy rallied for a 4-2 victory, but the Cougars had two straight runners picked off first base and committed other sins during a two-game series with the Warriors Thursday and Friday.

So no, Hoyer was not happy.

"No, not at all," he said while supervising outfield laps after the game. "The kids know it."

Kennedy has won nine straight games, is ranked No.5 in the state and leads the MVC Mississippi Division by one game, but Hoyer is looking toward the postseason, where small mistakes could cost the Cougars a chance to defend their Class 4A state title.

Small mistakes nearly cost Kennedy (20-4, 13-1) a chance to beat the undermanned and spirited Warriors, who have only 12 players in uniform but keep battling. Hoyer wants to correct those problems now.



Schreck's blast in 7th beats Prairie Hawks

IOWA CITY -- When Cedar Rapids Prairie baseball coach Matt Thede talks about his team, he often mentions the negative tradition they have. “Were battling more than an opposing team, we are battling some tradition that’s been with the program quite some time and that hurts us,” said Thede.

The Prairie Hawks were one out away from putting a dent in that tradition Friday night, but Iowa City West’s Connor Schreck had other plans.

With the score 10-8 in the bottom of the seventh inning and two outs, Schreck blasted a three-run walk off home run over the right field fence to give the Trojans an 11-10 win at the Iowa City West baseball field.

Prairie (10-12 6-8) was in the lead nearly the entire game, and saw its potential win get smacked away with one swing of the bat.  “It didn’t feel very good,” said Thede.

Schreck’s heroics came after Prairie had taken a two-run lead in the top of the seventh.

With the bases loaded and one out, Prairie’s Ty Mougin hit an easy double play ball to the shortstop, but the second baseman’s throw over to first was errant, and two Prairie runners crossed homeplate, pushing Prairie out in front 10-8.



Lions' Kelsey slugs 2 homers, tosses 4-hitter

Linn-Mar eighth grader Alexis Kelsey is making up for lost time with the varsity softball team.

She's doing it with her bat and her arm after missing five weeks of the season with a broken bone in her hand. She returned to action this week and has made an immediate impact.

Kelsey hit two home runs, including a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh, as the Lions trimmed Jesup 7-5 in the Linn-Mar tournament Friday.

She also pitched a four-hitter, went 4-for-4 and finished the day with six RBIs.

Kelsey Duggan and Ellie Rizor had key hits in the bottom of the seventh to set the table for Alexis Kelsey, who has three homers in the last two games. Duggan and Rizor had two hits apiece.

The tournament continues Saturday with six games. Xavier plays Center Point-Urbana at 10:45 and meets Monticello at 2:15 p.m. Linn-Mar faces Midland at 4 p.m. and plays Monticello at 5:45 p.m.

There is no championship game.


No.5 Cougars solve Puk, collect victory

A.J. Puk looked like an all-state pitcher for three innings against Cedar Rapids Kennedy Thursday night.

He struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced with a rising fastball and sharp curve, leaving the fifth-ranked Cougars swinging at air.

Sykes, Christensen, Yancey, Bell, Jacobus, Ambrosy and Benson all went down swinging in the first three innings as Puk fanned some good hitters in the Kennedy lineup.

The 6-foot-4 lefthander appeared in complete control for Cedar Rapids Washington. It was nine up, nine down.

"He's very smooth," said Kennedy senior Austin Christensen, who was strikeout victim No.2. "His fastball might not be the fastest, but it really gets on top of you. A lot of our guys were a little late on the fastball tonight. It jumps out of his hand."

Puk had it, then lost it.

Kennedy raked Puk for seven runs in the fourth inning and posted an 11-3 victory over the Warriors in a Mississippi Valley Conference game at Kennedy.


Bombs away; J-Hawks blast Cougars twice

The ball was flying off the bats of Jefferson hitters Thursday night in a Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader at Kennedy. The No. 6 J-Hawks had 17 hits in each game and a combined four home runs to power their way to a pair of wins.

“They fly out of here,” Jefferson Coach Larry Niemeyer said. “It is a short field.”

The J-Hawks (23-4, 16-1) took the opener 17-0 in five innings and followed that up with a 12-1 win in five in the nightcap. The doubleheader was the fourth in as many nights for the J-Hawks, who won seven of the eight games, and have won 10 of their last 11. Kennedy (4-21, 2-16) has lost 14 straight games.

In the opener the J-Hawks exploded for 11 runs in the fifth inning to take complete control of the Cougars. Jefferson junior ace Hannah Petersen (12-3) also tossed a three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts.

“I got confidence (pitching),” Petersen said. “I have a good defense behind me which makes it easy to relax.”

Run support also helps.

The J-Hawks got on the board in the first inning when junior Kenna Fry singled in courtesy runner Ashley Madsen, who was running for Petersen after she had singled.

Jefferson added one run in the second on a RBI single by sophomore Kaitlyn Davidson and four more in the third, which was highlighted by two-run blast from sophomore Amber Grimm.


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