116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The eager chatter began in the Kennedy Cougars’ camp early this week.
“I’ve started hearing a little bit of it,” Coach Maddison LeClere said. “These are always good games. I think it’s something that both teams look forward to.”
Must-watch softball for the past few years, the annual Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader between Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Iowa City High is Thursday.
First pitch is 5:30 p.m. at City.
“It’s healthy competition,” LeClere said. “Both teams respect each other.“
The reigning Class 5A state champion, Kennedy (10-2, 9-1 MVC) is ranked No. 7. City High (7-3, 6-2) is No. 6.
Both teams play Wednesday — the Cougars host Cedar Rapids Washington; the Little Hawks are at Dubuque Hempstead.
Kennedy lost six starters from last year’s title team, but has reloaded nicely.
Senior Jayme Scheck, who had shared pitching duties with now-graduated Kaylin Kinney throughout her career, is now the undisputed ace. She carries a 4-0 record and 1.05 ERA.
“She’s throwing well,” LeClere said. “She threw extremely well against Johnston (Saturday). But any team can put the bat on the ball.”
City High certainly can. Led by Ella Cook (.519, 13 RBIs), the Little Hawks are averaging 7.4 runs per game.
“Last year, sometimes it was home run or bust,” Cook said last week. “Now we can square up balls, and we don’t have to hit home runs to score.”
The Little Hawks had only five homers in their first eight games after hitting 56 in their last full season of 2019.
Keaton Gerber is hitting .562 for Kennedy. Mya Dodge is at .512 with a team-high 15 runs and 13 RBIs. New varsity contributors Topanga Beauregard and Lilea Prahm are at .400-plus with double-digit RBIs.
Sophomore Addy Alber, who suffered a late-season thumb injury last year, is generally a Game 1 catcher for the Cougars, and has played both infield and outfield.
“She can play anywhere,” LeClere said. “She wants to show colleges that she’s versatile.”
The teams split their doubleheader last year at City.
Area players are at the top of the state chart in several statistical categories:
· North Linn’s Ellie Flanagan and Anamosa’s Emily Watters are two of three state pitchers statewide that sport 0.00 ERAs.
· Peyton Johnson of Marion and Sydney Kennedy of Western Dubuque are atop the list in doubles, with nine.
· Dodge is tops in triples, with five. She had three in one game.
Quite a comeback
Tipton has just one win this season, but it was a memorable one.
On the verge of getting run-ruled in the fifth inning, the Tigers stormed back for a 27-25 road victory over Easton Valley on Friday.
Tipton trailed 19-9 after four innings, but erupted for 14 runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead.
Rylee Batzkiel scored five runs for the winners, and Delaney Fitch and Madison Burmeister drove in five apiece.
Tipton is 1-6.