Thursday, January 23, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Women's Summer Collegiate Fast-Pitch Softball League

Kirkwood stars join MSR softball league

Taylor Nearad and Maddie Hansen will probably play more than 60 games for the Kirkwood softball team next season and finish the campaign at the national tournament.

When the season ends, they'll take a few weeks off and then dive into the new Metro Sports Report summer league for another 20-game campaign.

That tells you everything you need to know about much the two Kirkwood All-Americans love the game.

Nearad, a fleet center fielder from Solon, enjoyed a phenomenal season for the Eagles last season when she hit .602 with 30 home runs and 129 RBIs and was named the Junior College National Player of the Year.

Hansen, a rock-solid catcher from Cedar Rapids Jefferson, hit .455 with 20 homers and 93 RBIs last season when the Eagles compiled a 58-6 record and finished fifth at the national tournament.

Nearad has accepted a scholarship to play at Iowa State after she's finished at Kirkwood next season. Hansen originally planned to play at Ball State this season, but changed her mind and returned to Kirkwood for her sophomore campaign.

Nearad and Hansen joined the Metro Sports Report summer league during the last week. Bria Lenten, a shortstop from Cedar Rapids Washington and Loras College, also joined the league this past week. So did Tawny Menster, a pitcher and outfielder from Anamosa High School and Mount Mercy University.


Ten players have joined the league, which has been formed for all players at Iowa colleges and all Iowans who are playing at out-of-state schools. There's no other league like this in Iowa and the response from players, coaches and softball enthusiasts has been very high.



3 more players join MSR softball league

Three players in Week 1, three more players in Week 2.

That's the score so far as college softball players begin to register for the Metro Sports Report summer league that will begin operations next year.

Lexi Kinnaird of Kirkwood, Maddy Ryan of Coe and Mallory McArtor of Coe are the three latest players to enroll in the program. They join Tianna Drahn of Northern Iowa, Erin Kuba of Indian Hills Community College and Peyton Baskerville of Mount Mercy.

That makes six players to join the league since we announced the new program just two weeks ago.


Kinnaird, who played at Clear Creek Amana High School, helped the Kirkwood Eagles finish fifth at the junior college national tournament last season as a freshman as one of their star pitchers.

Ryan, who starred at Linn-Mar High School as a pitcher and outfielder, is now a sophomore at Coe. She received all-state honors in high school and is pitching and chasing fly balls for the Kohawks.

McArtor was an all-state shortstop at Mid-Prairie High School and helped the Golden Hawks finish 5th, 3rd, 6th and 5th at the state tournament during her career. She's now a senior at Coe and would like to continue playing after she finishes her career with the Kohawks this spring.

Kuba, who was an all-state third baseman at Cedar Rapids Jefferson, is now a freshman at Indian Hills. Drahn, who was an all-state center fielder at Kennedy, is a freshman at UNI. And Baskerville, who was an all-conference catcher at Kennedy, is a freshman at Mount Mercy.



MSR launching women's softball league

I was talking to a friend whose daughter plays college softball and asked him where she planned to play softball during the summer once her college season was over.

His answer surprised me.

As it turned out, there were no women's fast-pitch softball leagues during the summer in Iowa this year for players to sharpen their skills and enjoy some friendly competition.

Well, there is now.

I am delighted to announce that the Metro Sports Report will be launching a new women's league next summer for all players who are currently on fast-pitch college softball teams in Iowa and for all Iowans who are playing at out-of-state schools.

This includes graduating seniors who may want to continue playing next summer, but it does not include any high school players who have not begun their collegiate careers.

We have secured four generous sponsors to help us pay our bills and we have two high-quality softball fields to host the games at Kirkwood Community College and Coe College in Cedar Rapids. Now we need to begin attracting the players.

The registration process begins right now (CLICK HERE TO REGISTER). You can register online and use PayPal to pay the $100 player fee, or you can simply mail the registration form and a check to me (Jim Ecker) at the Metro Sports Report at 2803 Q Ave NW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 52405.



Kuba claims first spot in softball league

It took Erin Kuba only a few hours to read about our new women's collegiate summer softball league when the program was announced last Tuesday and send in her registration form.

That made Kuba, a Cedar Rapids Jefferson grad, the first person to enroll in the program and get the ball rolling. She was joined shortly after by Peyton Baskerville and Tianna Drahn, a  air of Cedar Rapids Kennedy grads who have now sent in their materials.

And off we go.

Our goal is to enroll 64 college softball players in the program, assign them to four teams and begin play next summer at Kirkwood and Coe on 10 straight Sundays from late May through late July. And based on the early response, we should be able to reach our goal in a fairly short period of time.


The new program is intended for all active fast-pitch softball players at Iowa colleges, along with all Iowans who are playing at out-of-state schools. And it's also intended for all levels of collegiate softball, which makes our first three players so interesting.

Kuba is a freshman at Indian Hills Community College, which is an NJCAA program. Baskerville is a freshman at Mount Mercy University, which competes at the NAIA level. And Drahn is a  freshman at the University of Northern Iowa, which is an NCAA Division I school.

The three former Metro players all found different levels of collegiate competition, and now all three of them will be playing in the same summer league to hone their skills and enjoy some friendly competition.

We've sent e-mails to the head softball coaches at 27 different colleges in Iowa that are within a two-hour drive of Cedar Rapids to inform everyone about the program. The response has been highly favorable from everyone who has replied so far.



MSR forms new college softball league

Thank-you for your interest in the 2017 Women's Summer Collegiate Fast-Pitch Softball League. This is a brand-new program and is intended for active college players at the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA levels.

The league is being organized and administered by the Metro Sports Report of Cedar Rapids.

Anyone who is currently playing softball at a college in Iowa is eligible for the program. Also, all Iowans who are playing at out-of-state colleges are eligible as well. High school players are not eligible.


We will play a series of 10 doubleheaders on Sundays, beginning May 28 and running through July 30, for a 20-game season. The games will be played at Kirkwood Community College and Coe College in Cedar Rapids.

We plan to have four teams with 16 players per team. The first 64 players who register and submit their $100 player fee will be welcomed into the program. After that, we will form a waiting list. If there is enough interest, we will consider having six teams with 96 players.

According to collegiate rules, we cannot have more than four players from one college on the same summer team. That means we can accommodate as many as 16 players from one school.



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