Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Iowa Valley League

Norway, Walford sweep IVL twinbills

WILLIAMSBURG - Colby Carmichael tossed a two-hitter as the Norway Bandits trimmed the Williamsburg Red Sox, 4-2, in the first game of their Iowa Valley League doubleheader Sunday in Williamsburg.

Norway captured the second game, 12-5, to sweep the twinbill.

Carmichael was named the IVL Pitcher of the Week for his complete-game  performance. JT Sole had a two-run single for Norway and Mitch Walser had an RBI base hit in the opener.

Tony Salato belted a three-run homer for the Bandits in the secon  game. It came during an eight-run outburst for Norway in the fourth inning to take command. Riley Braughton had a two-run homer for Norway.

Joe Anton, Ryan Arp and Nolan Arp had two hits for Williamsburg in the second game. The Arp brothers drove in two runs apiece.



Stars end Red Top's IVL reign

WALFORD - The regular-season Iowa Valley League championship has been the exclusive property of Red Top since the summer of 2011.

That all changed here Sunday afternoon as the Fairfax Stars secured the 2017 title after downing Watkins, 5-2, in the second game of a doubleheader.

Watkins got home runs from Jonny Frese and Luke Farley to post a 3-1 win in the opener.

Player/Manager Chico Lizarraga's Stars, with a roster featuring a number of former Cedar Rapids Kennedy standouts, sits at 15-3 with only a 5 p.m. twinbill next Sunday at Norway remaining. Red Top fell back into a tie for second with Norway at 10-8 after being swept by Walford, 8-2 and 15-7, on Sunday in Norway while the Bandits were sweeping a twinbill from Williamsburg.

After clinching the title, the Stars posed for a quick team photo and then celebrated quietly with some cold beverages.

"We've got a good group of veterans and a good bunch of young guys,"  said Lizarraga, who also serves as an assistant coach on Bret Hoyer's staff at Kennedy. "We have a really good chemistry together and that's why I think we came out on top of the league."

The Stars have been a team that has adapted all season. They haven't played a home game all summer in Fairfax. They have played home games at Kennedy and Iowa City West as well as here on Sunday. Lizarraga said the reason for not playing in Fairfax all summer had to do with the field.



Fairfax clinches tie for IVL title

WILLIAMSBURG - The Fairfax Stars swept a doubleheader from Williamsburg Sunday, 11-1 and 8-1, to clinch at least a tie for the  Iowa Valley League title.

Fairfax raised its record to 14-2 and has a four-game lead over Red Top with four games left in the regular season.

Austin Czerwiec collected his seventh victory of the season with seven strikeouts in the 11-1 victory. Matt Berst, who just finished his all-state career at Kennedy, went 3-for-3 for Fairfax. Cody Williams had two doubles and scored three runs.

Ryan Arp and Cam Frazier had two hits for Williamsburg in the opener.

Jacob Henry had three hits and a double for Fairfax in the second game. Steve Jensen had two hits. Cody Bell was the winning pitcher.



IVL All-Stars, Red Top to face Hawkeyes

The University of Iowa baseball team will play two games later this month against members of the Iowa Valley League in preparation for their trip to the National Baseball Congress tournament in Wichita, Kan.

The Hawkeyes will host the Iowa Valley League All-Stars on Tuesday, July 25 at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City and will host Red Top Sports of the IVL on Thursday, July 27.

The Iowa Valley League All-Stars will be coached by Jim Van Scoyoc, the Hall of Fame coach from Norway who led the school to 12 state titles from 1972 through 1990.

The Hawkeyes will be competing as the USA National Team in the NBC tournament from July 29 through Aug. 6 in Wichita, Kan.

Iowa also will serve as the USA National Team from Aug. 19-30 in Taiwan. The Hawkeyes will host the Quad City Cardinals of the Quad Cities summer baseball league on Aug. 10 in preparation for their trip  to Taiwan.



Weeks delivers big hit for Red Top

WATKINS - Red Top's Ben Weeks has been in the Iowa Valley League since 2009.

Over those nine seasons, he has had plenty of at-bats against Watkins left-hander Luke Franzenburg.

On Sunday, the two IVL veterans matched up again in the second game of a doubleheader at Gabe Kuester Memorial Ball Park in Watkins.

With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the eighth, Weeks cracked a two-out RBI double off Franzenburg to right-center field, plating Trey Beckman with what proved to be the winning run in a hard-fought 2-1 victory for visiting Red Top to secure a split of the twinbill.

Watkins, behind six strong innings from University of Iowa left-hander Kyle Shimp, took the opener, 4-2.

Weeks, who played in high school at Solon before a collegiate career at Kirkwood and Winona State, said he wasn't looking for any particular pitch from Franzenburg when he came up in the eighth.

"I've played against Luke for quite a few years now, so I'm pretty much in tune with what he throws," Weeks said. "He's still a real tough pitcher and he was throwing a one-run game. I was just up there thinking a hit scores the go-ahead run."



Fairfax keeps 3-game lead in IVL

IOWA CITY - Fairfax is making a strong bid to snap Red Top's  stranglehold on the Iowa Valley League title.

Fairfax split a doubleheader with Red Top on Sunday in games played at Iowa City West High School to maintain its three-game lead in the IVL standings with six games left in the regular season.

Red Top won the first game, 8-7, in eight innings, but Fairfax  responded with an 8-0 victory in the nightcap.

Fairfax sits atop the league with a 12-2 record. Red Top, which has  won six straight league titles, is sitting in second place at 9-5.

Trey Beckman drove in Cal Clark with the winning run for Red Top in the eighth inning of the opener. Beckman hit a two-run homer in the game and was named the IVL Player of the Week.

Reid Bonner went 4-or-4 for Red Top in the first game with a double, triple and three RBIs. Ben Norman had two hits for the winners.

Jimmy Lizarraga had three hits, three RBIs and a two-run homer for Fairfax in the first game.



Franzenburg still going strong at 36

WATKINS - Luke Franzenburg planned on calling it quits after last season.

A player with Watkins in the Iowa Valley League since 2000, Franzenburg had been player/manager for the Mud Hens the past three seasons.

"I was managing the last three years and it was getting to be too much of a time commitment away from family and away from work," he said.

When Franzenburg and his wife Steph told their three children, Avery, Finley and Tade of his decision there were plenty of tears.

"They were pretty bummed when we told them," Franzenburg said. "I talked to the team and they said they would find somebody to manage if I would just keep coming out and throwing for them."

Needless to say, a manager was found and the children were happy to see dad back on the mound.

The 36-year-old left-hander came on in relief in the opener of the annual holiday doubleheader contests against Norway with the Mud Hens holding a 3-1 lead. He struck out four and allowed just two hits in picking up the save as Watkins won, 5-2, at Gabe Kuester Memorial Ball Park.



LED lights illuminate Norway field

NORWAY - The history of baseball in this small Eastern Iowa town is legendary.

Much of that history has taken place on the Norway Baseball Field that served as home to the 20-time state high school champion Norway Tigers until the school closed in 1991.

Now, thanks to the Norway Baseball Association, a group of Norway baseball boosters, headed up by former Norway baseball coach Jim Van Scoyoc, the field with so much history associated with it has undergone a number of upgrades, ensuring more baseball memories will be made in future years.

The latest upgrade was the installation of LED lighting. The  state-of-the-art lighting system, created by Musco Lighting, was first used on June 7.

"The lights have worked as advertised," Van Scoyoc said. "Musco leads the field in this and it really shows.

"I was out working on the field one day and they were testing them," he said. "I looked right into them and it about blinded me. They are powerful."

The field, the home of the Iowa Valley League's Norway Bandits, became part of the Benton Community School District when Norway closed. Since then the field had been used for a variety of baseball events. As time passed, the field began to need upgrades.



Czerwiec shines again for Fairfax

WALFORD - It won't be necessary to wait until the season is over to name the Pitcher of the Year in the Iowa Valley League.

They can give it to Austin Czerwiec right now.

Czerwiec tossed a two-hitter Sunday and raised his record to 6-0 as Fairfax topped Walford, 4-1, in the first game of their doubleheader at Walford.

Fairfax took the second game, 8-1, and now has a three-game lead in the Iowa Valley League standings at 11-1 with four weeks left in the campaign.

Czerwiec, who pitched at Mount Mercy, has pitched six times for Fairfax in the first six weeks of the season and he's won every time.

Alex Hayden and Adam Lloyd had RBI singles for Fairfax in the first game.

Fairfax scored eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning of the  second game to erase a 1-0 deficit and prevail 8-1. Cody Bell picked up the victory in relief.



Corson lifts Norway to IVL split

NORWAY - Norway had little time to recover from a 9-3 loss to Red Top in the first game of an Iowa Valley League twinbill Sunday.

The Bandits were held hitless for five innings by Red Top starter Cole McDonald, scoring late off the Red Top bullpen.

Enter Brady Corson.

The left-hander survived a rough first inning in Game 2, giving up a run and a pair of hits. He would give up nothing after that, walking only two the rest of the way as the Bandits rolled to a 10-1 victory to earn a split.

Corson, a Cedar Falls High School graduate who just finished his sophomore season at Cal-State San Marcos, had what had been a hot hitting Red Top unit off balance much of the game.

"Coming out of the bullpen I felt good tonight," Corson said. "The defense behind me played great. We had a tough first inning but we still made it work.

"I felt like I had my command as I kept going," he said. "It wasn't just me. I got a lot of help from the defense."



Fairfax sweeps twinbill from Norway

WALFORD - Fairfax continued its dream season Sunday by sweeping a doubleheader from the Norway Bandits in Walford.

Fairfax won both games by a single run, taking the opener 1-0 and prevailing 7-6 in the nightcap in eight innings.

Fairfax reached the halfway point of the Iowa Valley League season with a 9-1 record, good for a two-game lead over Red Top.

Austin Czerwiec tossed a five-hit shutout for Fairfax in the 1-0  victory in the first game for his fifth victory of the season. Walker Breard had an RBI double in the first inning for the only run in the  well-played game, driving in Cody Williams.

Jordan Hanlon pitched a four-hitter for Norway. JT Sole had two hits for the Bandits.

The second game was tied, 5-5, after seven innings. Norway took a 6-5 lead in the top of the eighth, but Fairfax responded with two runs in the bottom of the eighth for the victory.



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