CEDAR RAPIDS — Haley McFarlane had only one strike to work with, and she pondered it all along Interstate 380.
“I spent the entire bus ride thinking about it,” McFarlane said. ”I had to help the team. I couldn’t go down looking, and I couldn’t go down swinging.”
Saddled with an 0-2 count before she strode to the plate, McFarlane poked a solo home run in the top of the second inning — then repeated the feat in the seventh — as Class 5A 15th-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie blanked No. 8 Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 2-0, in the conclusion of a Mississippi Valley Conference softball game Monday evening at Kennedy High School.
The back half of a doubleheader that began Thursday, the contest was scoreless when it was suspended due to lightning. McFarlane was batting at the point of stoppage, with one out and an 0-2 count.
“I was going to keep doing my thing, and the team was going to keep doing its thing,” McFarlane said. “The first pitch I saw, I was going to swing at.”
McFarlane sent it over the center-field fence.
Prairie (18-7 overall, 11-5 MVC) joined the Cougars (17-5, 11-5) in a second-place tie in the MVC Valley Division, one game behind Iowa City High (13-12, 12-4) with 10 league games to play. Kennedy hosts the Little Hawks in a doubleheader Tuesday; Prairie hosts Cedar Rapids Xavier.
McFarlane was the only Prairie player to reach base Monday. But she did enough damage (her seventh-inning homer clanked off the scoreboard in center field) to support a shutout effort by pitcher Nicole Sullivan (6-2).
Sullivan allowed two hits, none after the second inning.
“I was hoping I could go seven innings,” Sullivan said. “I wasn’t trying to strike everybody out. I was hoping to have the defense do the work.
“And Haley came up huge.”
Eighth-grader Jayme Scheck (4-2) pitched her own two-hitter for Kennedy, fanning 11.
The Cougars’ only threat of the game, as it turned out, came Thursday in the first inning. Nobody advanced past first base in the final six innings, and Sullivan retired the last 10 batters she faced.
CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 2, CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 0
At C.R. Kennedy
C.R. Prairie 010 000 1 — 2 2 1
C.R. Kennedy 000 000 0 — 0 2 0
Nicole Sullivan and Hunter Dietrich. Jayme Scheck and Abby Spore. W — Sullivan (6-2). L — Scheck (4-2). HR — CRP: Haley McFarlane 2 (3).
l Comments: (319) 368-8857; firstname.lastname@example.org