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.
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Pitch to Maddie Hansen, and she’s likely to beat you.
Pitch around her, and somebody else very well might.
Hansen reached base all seven times she came to the plate, and Alyssa Olson and Alissa Good posted twin shutouts as Class 5A sixth-ranked Cedar Rapids Jefferson swept Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 5-0 and 7-0, in a Mississippi Valley Conference softball double-header Thursday night at Larry Niemeyer Field.
“We left too many kids in scoring position, but we got good pitching tonight,” said Jefferson Coach Brian Erbe. “And it’s always nice to have your big-time RBI kid up with kids on base and no place to put her.”
Hansen walked four times, including once with the bases loaded, and added a pair of doubles and a single in a three-RBI night.
“It used to bother me when I got walked, but I’ve gotten used to it,” Hansen said. “I’ve got Kennedy (Dighton) behind me and Erin (Kuba) behind her.
“Anybody can get the job done.”
Jefferson (30-5 overall, 21-3 MVC) wrapped up a share of the Mississippi Division title. The J-Hawks close their league slate Monday at Iowa City West (26-7, 19-5), and a split or better will make it an outright championship.
“A division title, that’s our first goal. And it’s our first step to a bigger goal,” Hansen said.
Olson (15-4) dodged nine illegal-pitch calls in a three-hitter in the opener, then Good (13-1) scattered five hits in Game 2.
“I’m not a strikeout pitcher,” said Good, who rolled without fanning a batter. “I have a lot of confidence in my defense, and I’m not afraid to let the batters hit the ball.
“A couple times tonight, I could have been in trouble. But the defense really helped me out a lot.”
Kennedy (23-13, 14-10) has enjoyed a nice turnaround this season. The Cougars had won 11 of 12 and have virtually flipped their record from a year ago (13-25).
But the J-Hawks simply were the better team Thursday.
Dighton’s single — right after the Cougars walked Hansen — put Jefferson in front in the first inning of Game 1. Hansen’s bases-loaded walk and a steal of home by Emily Walton made it 3-0 in the second inning, then Hansen swatted a two-run double in the fourth.
The second game was tight until the fifth inning, when Jefferson scored six times to break it open. Walton’s two-run double was the big blow of the eruption.
C.R. JEFFERSON 5, C.R. KENNEDY 0 (Game 1)
C.R. Kennedy 000 000 0 — 0 3 2
C.R. Jefferson 120 200 x — 5 7 0
Jenna Schwartzhoff, Andrea McEachran (2), Schwartzhoff (5) and Peyton Baskerville. Alyssa Olson and Maddie Hansen. W — Olson (15-4). L — Schwartzhoff (12-8).
C.R. JEFFERSON 7, C.R. KENNEDY 0 (Game 2)
C.R. Kennedy 000 000 0 — 0 5 3
C.R. Jefferson 010 060 x — 7 7 0
Jenna Schwartzhoff, Andrea McEachran (3), Schwartzhoff (5) and Peyton Baskerville. Alissa Good and Maddie Hansen. W — Good (13-1). L — Schwartzhoff (12-9).
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