When Todd Rima became the new baseball coach at Cedar Rapids Prairie last year, he gave all of his players a picture of Principal Park in Des Moines and told them to set their sights on winning a state title there.
"We asked them to hang it up in their room and make sure it was something they wanted to work towards," Rima said Wednesday night. "I think they looked at me at first like, 'Is this guy crazy?' But I think they bought in. I think they have a confidence about them now that leads to success."
That confidence was on full display Wednesday as the Hawks claimed their first Metro title in school history with a 5-0 whitewash of fifth-ranked Kennedy at the Jefferson field.
The Hawks enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2015, winning 31 games and capturing the first Mississippi Valley Conference in school annals. Now they've followed last year's success with their first trophy in the 47th Bob Vrbicek Metro tournament.
"We felt with the kids that we had and how they wanted to work and how they wanted to be successful that we could have a lot of success," said Rima. "It's all because they've bought in to playing hard. They've done a tremendous job."
Junior Darren Kilpatrick tossed a four-hit shutout in his first varsity appearance as Prairie whipped its second ranked club in three days. The Hawks trimmed No. 3 Jefferson in the opening round, clobbered Washington in the semifinals and tamed Kennedy in the championship round, allowing just two runs in three games.