INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
Independence nearly matc ... »
CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Kennedy swept Waterloo West Friday night, using only three pitchers in 12 innings.
The Cougars (27-4, 19-3 MVC) topped the Wahawks (2-27, 2-20) in a five-inning opener, 1-0, and got another shutout in the nightcap, 4-0.
The pitching duo of Blake Hargens and Tyler Dralle combined for a five-inning no-hitter in the opener. Hargens was perfect for four innings, walking none and striking out five batters.
“I just had to hit the mitt and had my fielders work,” Hargens said. “That’s just what I normally do.”
Putting zeroes across the board isn’t new to Hargens. He said his biggest success this season has come from dissecting each batter, pitch by pitch. Hargens said he isn’t worried so much about the overall result but just needs to focus on each batter and good results will follow.
Kennedy Coach Bret Hoyer said Hargens’ talent this season comes as no surprise.
“He was good last year pitching for us at the varsity level,” Hoyer said. “He was in our starting four and he’s worked hard at it in the off season and in the season. He’s made himself a pretty good pitcher.”
Hargens said it’s been an extra special ride being in the starting rotation because he’s had some of his closest friends alongside him.
Teammates Samuele Lizarraga and Zachary Daniels have been with Hargens his whole career, and Hargens said it has given them a sixth sense about each other’s games.
“We can talk about the games and we know each other’s arms, how we’re doing and if we’re feeling bad or not,” Hargens said. “We’ve been playing together for a while, just the three of us. It’s really cool we get to stay together for these three years.”
Kennedy takes on Dubuque Hempsted (19-3 MVC) in a Monday showdown for the MVC Mississippi Division title. Hoyer said the usual key factors of winning a baseball game will have to be in play to win this game.