116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Iowa City High stood on the first-base foul line, awaiting the national anthem before its doubleheader at Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
Before the traditional song was played, the announcer asked for a moment of silence in honor of the late Bob Mitchell, the father of Little Hawks Coach Brian Mitchell and grandfather of City High standout Gable Mitchell.
“(Kennedy) Coach (Bret) Hoyer is as classy as they get,” Brian Mitchell said. “I was taken aback by it but I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was awesome. I am grateful that he would do that.”
The third-ranked Little Hawks played inspired baseball against a quality Cougars team. They overcame a two-run deficit in the opener and led throughout in the nightcap for a 5-3 and 11-3 Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader sweep Tuesday night at Herkelman Field.
Bob Mitchell died Friday after an eight-month battle with cancer. He was an avid City High fan, watching his sons — David, Mark and Brian — compete. Bob, himself, was a former defensive tackle, who lettered for the University of Iowa in 1964.
“I had two older brothers, who both played sports — football, baseball and wrestling,” said Brian, who played baseball for the Hawkeyes. “Both of my parents were super involved at City High. One of them were at every one of our games and the same when we were at Iowa.”
Brian said his dad was in construction and was a “hands-on” person. He actually helped work on the field. He was a mainstay at Little Hawk games.
“When I started coaching, it was a lot of fun for him to go over there.” Brian said. “The old guard would come and hang out at games. He looked forward to it. We lived close.
“His grandkids were super engaged with him. It was an unbelievable experience for him and vice versa.”
The attention turned to grandchildren, watching them play a variety of sports. Gable said he was moved by the tribute to one of the hardest-working men he knew who had a passion for sports, especially City High athletics.
“Even his last couple days, I was at his house and it was 10 in the morning and he was ready to go to the game,” said Gable, an Iowa baseball signee. “It truly showed how much he loved City High sports and how much he cared to support me and my teammates. During football season, he was at every game.
“That’s how he was my whole life. A huge part of my life and sad to see him go.”
Gable provided a big spark in the come-from-behind victory in the opener.
After Kennedy took a 3-1 lead against lefty standout Cade Obermueller, Gable helped City High rally, leading off the fifth and seventh innings with triples.
The first opened a three-run frame that put City High up 4-3. The second added an insurance run.
Mitchell scored on an Alex Knudtson sacrifice fly to make it 3-2. After a John Klosterman single, Gavin Koch smacked a two-run home run into the tennis courts beyond the right-field fence, giving the Little Hawks their first lead.
Mitchell scored on an Obermueller double in the seventh.
Mitchell, who also worked a perfect seventh to earn the save, and Koch led the way with three hits apiece, while Obermueller and Koch each had two RBIs in the opener.
“They really came out and played well against us,” Brian Mitchell said. “They had a great game plan against Obie. They were definitely out-playing us early on. It just took a few things to go our way.
“Gable did what he did. He’s fun to watch when he plays like that. I think that helped things carry over to that next game.”
In the nightcap, six Little Hawks scored runs with eight tallying hits and all nine starters reaching base.
City High (11-2) took a 1-0 lead in the first on Joey Bouska’s steal of home. The Little Hawks broke it open in the four-run second on consecutive run-scoring doubles by Bouska and Carter Seaton.
City High added three in the fifth, two in the sixth and closed with one in the seventh. Knudtson had three hits and Obermueller had two hits with two RBIs in Game 2.
“If you look at one through nine, and plus, we do have a dynamic offense,” Brian Mitchell said. “Our No. 1 thing for us is putting balls in play. If we continue to balls in play, that forces teams to make a lot of plays against us.”
Mason Behn had two hits and three RBIs for the Cougars (3-8). He had an RBI single in the opener and a two-run base hit in the nightcap.