Drahozal digs in

Junior slugger powers Saints at Prairie

CEDAR RAPIDS — Erin Drahozal continues to baffle area pitchers on just how to get her out.

The Cedar Rapids Xavier junior extended her home run streak to four games and upped her batting average to an eye-popping .500 as the Class 4A No. 5 Saints swept a Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader, 9-3 and 7-2, Tuesday night at 5A No. 10 Cedar Rapids Prairie.

“Coach always talks about going up to the plate with a purpose,” Drahozal said. “I guess I just capitalized on that tonight.”

Xavier (20-2, 15-1 MVC) leads Linn-Mar by three games in the MVC Valley Division. Prairie (15-10, 11-5 MVC) fell to third, four full games behind the Saints.

“They’re playing well and they’re getting better all the time,” Xavier Coach Nikki Price said. “They’re getting out of tough situations.”

The fourth inning proved to be memorable in both games.

After managing just one hit in the first three innings of the opener, Xavier broke a scoreless tie with a six-run fourth inning, all with two outs. The six spot turned out to be more than enough for Drahozal, who yielded eight hits and a three-run home run from Prairie’s Amanda Stecklein to improve to 11-2 in the circle. At the plate, she was 3-for-4 with a solo home run to lead off the fifth.

“Everyone on the team, we always say ‘meatball,’” Drahozal said of her view of the ball inside the batter’s box.

Prairie served up another one in the second game when Drahozal capped the second six-run fourth inning of the night with a three-run blast that caromed off the glove of Prairie left fielder Kristin Wahlert and over the fence.

Drahozal leads the Saints with seven homers and 31 RBIs.

“She can hit out, she can hit in, she can hit everywhere,” Price said.

After surrendering an RBI double in the first inning of the second game, Xavier junior Kylie Oldridge retired nine straight Hawks and remains unbeaten with an 8-0 record.