CEDAR RAPIDS — The Kennedy Cougars broke their postgame huddle, and Kaylin Kinney carried Alyssa Martin on her back and a softball in her right hand.
The game-ending, game-winning softball.
Kinney cranked a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning as Class 5A top-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy rallied from a three-run deficit to topple No. 3 Dubuque Hempstead, 7-3, in the second game of a Mississippi Valley Conference softball doubleheader sweep Thursday night at Kennedy High School.
“My goal was a base hit or a drive to the outfield,” she said. “My main focus was timing; see ball, hit ball. It just happened to go over (the fence).”
A sophomore commit of the University of Nebraska, Kinney pitched a three-hitter in a 6-0 win in the opener, inducing 15 groundouts. That improved her record to 7-1 and lowered her ERA to 0.41.
Kennedy improved to 13-2 overall, 12-0 in the MVC.
“We lost our focus for an inning or two in the second game, but to come back like that ... unbelievable,” Kennedy Coach Maddison LeClere said. “We were getting contributions from 1 through 9, we pulled together and our dugout got loud.”
Kennedy committed six errors in the third and fourth inning of Game 2, staking Hempstead (12-4, 9-3) to a 3-0 lead. But the Cougars got a run in the fifth and another in the sixth to draw closer.
Jayme Scheck led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, then bunts by Lizzy Dennis and Martin — the 8 and 9 hitters — turned into a hit and an error, tying the game.
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Kai Johnson walked to load the bases, then Ashley Winterowd hit into a fielder’s choice at the plate. That brought up Kinney, who lasered a 1-2 pitch over the left-field fence.
That made a winner out of Scheck (7-1), who allowed just two hits.
Abby Spore hit a two-run home run in the first inning of Game 1, and eight of the nine starters had at least one hit.
CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 6-7, DUBUQUE HEMPSTEAD 0-3
At C.R. Kennedy
Dubuque Hempstead 000 000 0 — 0 3 3
C.R. Kennedy 220 002 x — 6 9 0
Malarie Huseman and Kayla LaPage. Kaylin Kinney and Abby Spore. W — Kinney (7-1). L — Huseman (6-2). HR — CRK: Spore (4).
Dubuque Hempstead 001 200 0 — 3 2 4
C.R. Kennedy 000 011 5 — 7 8 6
Julia Meehan and Kayla LaPage. Jayme Scheck and Abby Spore. W — Scheck (6-1). L — Meehan (6-2). HR — CRK: Kinney (5).
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