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No. 1 Cougars claim Metro title again

Cedar Rapids Kennedy ended the 2010 baseball season by winning a state title and now the Cougars have begun the 2011 campaign by claiming the Metro crown.

They haven't missed a beat.

Kennedy won the Bob Vrbicek Metro Tournament for the 11th time Wednesday night by topping Xavier, 8-3, in the championship game at chilly Veterans Memorial Stadium.

"It feels good, but we've got to stay humble and keep moving forward," said David Yancey, who pitched well in relief. "We can't be content with what we have, because we want to win another state title."

Griffin Michael went 3-for-4 with two doubles and drove in four runs for Kennedy. Austin Christensen was 2-for-3, slugged a long triple into the wind in right-center and scored four times for the Cougars (3-0).

Alex Hayden pitched four strong innings to get the victory and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second inning by picking a runner off second base for the third out. Hayden, a junior, is bidding to become Kennedy's No.3 starter behind Christensen and Michael.

"I was very happy with him," Coach Bret Hoyer remarked. "He came out and he was pretty excited. He was keyed up, and he threw fantastic."

Adam Lloyd pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the Cougars in the fifth, but he ran into trouble in the sixth and loaded the bases with one out. Yancey relieved Lloyd and put out the fire without the Saints scoring a run, then had a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh.

The thermometer said it was 52 degrees, but a fierce north wind dropped the wind-chill much lower. Fielders had trouble with pop-ups, but otherwise it was a fairly clean game.

The Cougars watched Xavier beat Washington, 8-3, in the semifinals Wednesday, then beat the Saints by the same score.

"At first it was a little cold, sitting up in the stands," Yancey said. "But once you got out there it wasn't too bad. My arm felt pretty good tonight, so getting loose wasn't too hard."

Xavier wasted too many chances. The pickoff play hurt them in the second inning when the score was 1-1, and they trailed 7-3 in the sixth when they loaded the bases with one out and failed to cross the plate.

The Saints' pitchers had trouble holding runners on base, helping Kennedy steal six bases, and the Cougars took several other bases on pitches in the dirt.

"It's tough to have mistakes and play a well-coached and experienced team like Kennedy," Xavier Coach Dave Schemmel said. "They're a good, experienced team. They don't get flustered, and they play hard."

Kennedy beat Xavier in the championship game of the Metro tournament for the second straight year. This was the 42nd Metro tournament, and the Battle of 42nd Street went to the Cougars.

Eric Zenisek went 3-for-3 for the Saints. Colby Brecht was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs.

Kennedy hosts North Scott Thursday night. Xavier plays at Muscatine on Friday.

XAVIER (3)
Blake Helms, ss, 3 0 0 0, Nate Even, 2b, 4 0 0 0, Mac Mattke, 1b, 4 0 1 0, Kevin Hosch, lf, 4 0 0 0, Colin Brown, 3b, 0 0 0 0, Corbin Woods, 3b, 4 0 1 0, Alex Ries, cf, 3 0 1 0, Dane Mehring, dh, 1 2 0 0, Tyler Hines, p, 0 0 0 0, Ean McNeal, lf, 0 0 0 0, Eric Zenisek, rf, 3 1 3 0, Colby Brecht, c, 2 0 2 2, Andrew Sodawasser, cr, 0 0 0 0. Totals 28 3 8 2.

KENNEDY (8)
Terrell Sykes, 2b, 4 1 1 2, Austin Christensen, rf, 3 4 2 0, Griffin Michael, ss, 4 0 3 4, Devon Jacobus, 3b, 3 0 1 1, Cody Bell, 1b, 3 0 0 0, David Yancey, lf, 2 2 1 0, Matt Maiers, c, 2 1 1 0, Josh Jahlas, cf, 2 0 0 1, Austin Benson, dh, 2 0 0 0, Alex Hayden, p, 0 0 0 0, Adam Lloyd, p, 0 0 0 0, Jud Rhoades, ph, 1 0 0 0, Logan Ambrosy, lf, 0 0 0 0. Totals 26 8 9 8.

Xavier  010 200 0 - 3 8 0
Kennedy 141 101 x - 8 9 2

Hines, Hosch (3), Woods (6) and Brecht; Hayden, Lloyd (5), Yancey (6) and Maiers. W - Hayden; L - Hines.
2B - Ries, Brecht, Michael 2. 3B - Christensen, Jacobus. SB - Yancey 2, Maiers 2, Sykes, Christensen.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 May 2011 00:20 )  

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