116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Benton Community has a rich baseball tradition, but Friday night will focus on more than just the game.
The Bobcats will honor one of the coaches who contributed to that legacy.
A tribute for late Benton Coach Derek Anderson will be held before the Bobcats’ junior varsity/varsity doubleheader, beginning at 5 p.m. Benton will officially dedicate the baseball facility Manship Field at Anderson Ballpark.
Anderson coached and taught at Benton Community for 15 years. He died unexpectedly in January at the age of 43.
“Everybody loved Coach (Anderson),” Benton Activities Director Shawn Pfiffner said. “The guy had a heart of gold. I don’t know a player or student that didn’t like him.”
Pfiffner said a ceremony involving members of Anderson’s family is set to precede the opening game. A scoreboard topper was added that includes Anderson’s name, created with the help of coaches and booster club. The field already had a name but Pfiffner did some research and discovered programs with separate names for the field and the venue.
“We wanted to honor him,” Pfiffner said. “Pay our respects to a great guy.”
Anderson, a Cedar Rapids native, won 225 games in more than a decade as the Bobcats’ head baseball coach. He guided Benton to two of its 10 summer state tournament appearances. The Bobcats reached the state quarterfinals in 2012 and 2020 and reached the substate finals against eventual Class 3A state champion Marion last season.
Anderson’s longtime assistant, Seth Patterson, has taken over the program reins. Benton is 5-10 before Thursday’s games against Marion. Junior Jordan Thys is tied for the state lead with three saves this season.
“We tried not to upset the apple cart,” Pfiffner said. “We thought they (the players) needed consistency.”
Pfiffner said Anderson’s spiritual life and personal connection endeared him to many, providing seniors with books and inspirational notes in each. Teaching colleagues created a saying that read, “Be kinD Always” to highlight Anderson’s initials in the phrase that describes his personality.
“He was kind to everybody,” said Pfiffner, whose son played baseball for Anderson. “He was kind all the time.”
Ed-Co honors state champs
Edgewood-Colesburg will honor members of the 1952 Colesburg state champion baseball team June 13. The Vikings will recognize Robert Brown, Floyd Sampson and Roger Brockmeyer between junior varsity and varsity home games against Easton Valley.
Colesburg captured the 1952 state summer tournament, beating Glidden, 9-5, in the championship held in Dysart. The Trojans finished 15-2 that season under head coach Martin Dittmer. No Edgewood or Colesburg team has repeated that feat in the 70 years since the title. The consolidated Edgewood-Colesburg program qualified for the state tournament in 2016, falling to eventual state finalist West Sioux, 3-2.
Colesburg was a spring baseball state runner-up in 1944. The Trojans fell to Davenport, 5-2, that year in Fort Dodge.
Luke Kehrli powers up
West Delaware senior Luke Kehrli leads all Gazette-area players with five home runs and is tied for fourth in the state, regardless of class. Kehrli ranks second in Class 3A, trailing Sioux City Heelan’s Ian Gill by one.
Kehrli is batting .366 with 15 RBIs and 10 runs.