Wednesday, October 16, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Eagles crush Dawson, 19-2, for district title

GLENDIVE, Mont. - Erin Hocker celebrated her trip home to Montana with  all of her friends from Kirkwood Thursday afternoon.

Hocker pitched a complete game as the seventh-ranked Eagles smashed  18th-ranked Dawson Community College, 19-2, in the championship game  of the district tournament to earn a spot in the NJCAA Division II  World Series.

Kirkwood (50-15) advances to the national tournament May 22-25 in  Clinton, Miss.

London Jackson belted her 22th home run in the second inning to give  Kirkwood an early lead and the Eagles piled up the runs as the game  went along. There was no mercy rule in the district finals and the  Eagles showed no mercy.

Lauren Kuch socked a three-run homer and pinch-hitter Skylar Ryan hit  a grand slam in the seventh inning as the slugfest continued.

Eric Frese will be taking his team to the national tournament in his  first year as head coach. Frese had never been a college softball  coach before coming to Kirkwood this season, but the Norway native has  vast experience as a college baseball coach and had no trouble  adjusting.



No. 7 Eagles rally at district tourney

GLENDIVE, Mont. - The Kirkwood softball team has been living  dangerously in postseason tournaments this year, but so far the Eagles  are still alive and kicking.

The seventh-ranked Eagles rallied to split two games with 18th-ranked  Dawson on Wednesday and will face the Bucs again on Thursday in the  championship game of the district tournament in Montana.

Kirkwood (49-15) and Dawson (43-4) will tangle on Dawson's home field  Thursday at 1 p.m., with the winner claiming a spot in the NJCAA  Division II national championships.

Dawson blanked the Eagles, 1-0, in the first game Wednesday in the  best-of-3 district tournament. The Bucs then held a 3-2 lead over the  Eagles after three innings of the second game, putting Kirkwood on the  verge of elimination, but Kirkwood's bats came alive and the Eagles  soared to a 12-3 victory to force Game 3.

Kirkwood also had to rally in the regional tournament against NIACC  last weekend after losing to NIACC in the winners bracket final, then  whipping NIACC twice in the championship round.

Dawson scored in the top of the first inning of the first game  Wednesday for a 1-0 lead, and that turned out to be all the scoring in  the ballgame as Kirkwood collected only five hits. Kirkwood pitcher  Erin Hocker, playing in her home state of Wyoming, allowed one run on  seven hits and was the tough-luck loser.



Hocker shines as KCC wins regional

Erin Hocker is going home to Montana for the district softball  tournament this week and she's taking all of the Kirkwood Eagles with  her.

Hocker twirled a pair of shutouts Sunday as the seventh-ranked Eagles  blanked NIACC in the championship round of the regional tournament,  5-0 and 8-0 in five innings, at Kirkwood.

Kirkwood (48-14) will face 18th-ranked Dawson Community College (42-3)  on Dawson's home field in Glendive, Mont., in the two-team district  tournament that starts Wednesday.

Hocker pitched all 12 innings in the two ballgames, tossing a two-hit  shutout in the opener and hurling a one-hitter in the second game.

Kirkwood lost to NIACC in the winners bracket final Saturday, so the  Eagles needed two victories Sunday to reach the district. They  responded like true champions.

After Hocker tossed her two-hitter in the opener, Kirkwood Coach Eric  Frese asked his ace right-hander how she felt about pitching the  second game against NIACC as well.



KCC baseball takes 3rd at regional

CLINTON - The Kirkwood baseball team lost to Northeast Community  College, 7-4, in the losers bracket final Sunday and finished third at  the regional tournament in Clinton.

Northeast will face Southeastern in the championship round Monday.

Kirkwood topped Northeast, 5-3, in the opening round of the tournament  Thursday, but the Hawks jumped to a 5-0 lead in the second inning  Sunday and never lost the lead.

The Eagles scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning to pull  within 5-3, but Northeast tallied twice in the seventh for a 7-3  advantage to give itself some breathing room.

Kirkwood Coach Todd Rima and the Eagles finished with a 33-20 record.  They went 2-2 in the regional.



KCC baseball falls into losers bracket

CLINTON - The Kirkwood baseball team lost to Southeastern, 4-2, in the  winners bracket finals of the regional baseball tournament Saturday  night at Ashford Field.

Kirkwood (33-19) will face 19th-ranked DMACC (38-16) or Northeast  Community College (28-18) in an elimination game Sunday at 3 p.m.

If the Eagles beat DMACC or Northeast, they'll face Southeastern  (41-17) in the first championship game Sunday at 6 p.m. And if the  Eagles beat Southeastern, they'll face the Blackhawks again Monday at  noon for the regional title and a berth in the NJCAA Division II World  Series.

Kirkwood took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning against  Southeastern Saturday on an RBI single by Levi Usher. Southeastern  tied the game, 1-1, in the fourth, but the Eagles grabbed a 2-1  advantage in the top of the sixth on an RBI double by Zion Pettigrew.



KCC softball team in tough spot

The Kirkwood softball team has to defeat NIACC in two straight games  Sunday afternoon or its promising season will be over.

The seventh-ranked Eagles lost to the 20th-ranked Trojans, 6-3, in the  winners bracket finals Saturday in the regional tournament at Kirkwood  and are facing an uphill battle on their home field.

If Kirkwood sweeps NIACC on Sunday, the Eagles will advance to the  district tournament on Wednesday. If NIACC wins one of the games, the  Trojans will keep their season alive.

The first championship game on Sunday is scheduled for noon. If  Kirkwood wins that game, they'll play again at 2 p.m. in the  double-elimination event. If they lose that game at noon, it's over.

Kirkwood clobbered Ellsworth for the second straight day, 16-2, in the  losers bracket finals Saturday and has a 2-1 record for the regional.  NIACC is sitting with a 2-0 mark, just one victory away from the title.



Eagles upset No. 19 DMACC in regional

CLINTON – The Kirkwood baseball team picked the right time to play one  of its best games of the season Friday.

The Eagles walloped 19th-ranked DMACC, 10-0, in six innings in the  winners bracket semifinals of the regional tournament as Ashford Field.

Kirkwood (33-18) will face Southeastern (40-17) in the winners bracket  finals Saturday at 6 p.m., needing two victories to win the regional  title for the second straight year.

The Eagles are the No. 5 seed in the regional, but they’ve already  defeated No. 4 seed Northeast and No. 1 seed DMACC in the first two  rounds. Northeast and DMACC both won their regular-season series  against Kirkwood this year, 3-1, but the Eagles have made amends in  the postseason.

Carter Lawler (5-3) pitched a strong game against DMACC. He pitched a  complete game, allowing only three hits in six innings with six  strikeouts and three walks.



Eagles roll in softball regional

Sydney Albaugh belted two home runs Friday as Kirkwood smashed  Ellsworth, 15-1, in five innings in the first round of the regional  softball tournament at Kirkwood.

The seventh-ranked Eagles (45-13) will face 20th-ranked NIACC (29-16)  in the winners bracket finals Saturday at 2 p.m.

Albaugh went 2-for-3 with her two homers and four RBIs. Lauren Kuch  was 3-for-4 with a double, home run and six RBIs. Taleah Smith was  2-for-3 and scored twice. Shelby Hulsebus and Rachel Stewart also  scored twice. Lauren Klaahsen hit a solo home run.

Erin Hocker (24-7) and Bradee Bouman shared the pitching. Hocker ranks  second in the country with her 24 victories, just one victory behind  the national leader.



Eagles trip Northeast in regional opener

CLINTON - The Kirkwood Eagles got off to a promising start in the  regional baseball tournament Thursday in Clinton.

The Eagles got a strong pitching effort from Cam Cowan and trimmed  Northeast Community College, 5-3, at Ashford Field.

Kirkwood (32-18) will face 19th-ranked DMACC (37-15) in the winner's  bracket semifinals Friday at noon.

Cowan (3-2) was touched for three runs in seven innings, but all three  runs were unearned. He allowed five hits, with seven strikeouts and  three walks.

Austin Krob pitched 1 2/3 scoreless inning in relief and Jackson  Bennett got the final out for his fifth save.

Levi Usher and Zion Pettigrew had two hits for Kirkwood. Taylor  Jackson, Jamarion Loston and Joel Thompson collected RBIs.



KCC golfers win 5th regional in row

AMES - The Kirkwood men's golf team captured the Region XI title for the fifth straight year Monday.

The third-ranked Eagles topped DMACC by 20 shots, 603 to 623, in the 36-hole tournament at the Veenker Memorial Golf Course in Ames.

Kirkwood advanced to the NJCAA Division II national tournament May 21-24 at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind.

James Morgan of Kirkwood claimed medalist honors at 3-over-par 147 with rounds of 71 and 76. Ben Epperly of Kirkwood placed third, Will Babcock tied for fifth, Ryan Morrison tied for seventh and Dawson  Peters tied for 15th.



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