116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY – The result surprised Cedar Rapids Kennedy Coach Bret Hoyer.
Like many, he expected a low-scoring affair when Iowa City West all-stater Marcus Morgan and the Cougars’ Mason Behn took the mound opposite each other. Good thing he’s not a betting man. He would have lost his shirt and the farm when the teams combined for 14 runs.
“It didn’t play out the way (I thought),” Hoyer said. “I would have lost a lot of money thinking it would play out the way.”
The Cougars jumped to a five-run lead and held off a late rally, dropping the Trojans, 8-6, in the opener of a Mississippi Valley Conference baseball doubleheader sweep Wednesday night at West High School. Dylan Davis and Wiley Sullivan smacked home runs to power Kennedy past West, 10-2, in Game 2.
Behn began with four shutout innings, striking out five in more than five innings of work for his second win this season. Morgan entered with a 2-0 mark and a slim 1.42 earned-run average. He struck out 11 batters through five, allowing just two earned runs.
Those two came in the first inning. Brenden Groth and Behn drew walks and each scored on back-to-back two-out singles from Colby Dolphin and Sullivan.
The Cougars (14-7, 9-5) added to their lead in the fourth when Payton McAfee reached on an error and scored after Max White’s single. It was the first of three unearned runs for Kennedy, coming with two outs.
“You have to avoid errors,” Hoyer said. “Most teams take advantage of that.”
In the fifth, Dolphin reached on a two-out error. After a walk to Sullivan, Braden Hoyer’s RBI single scored Dolphin and set up Sullivan’s exciting straight steal of home for a 5-0 lead.
Kennedy managed 10 hits against three pitchers, including five, four walks and two hit batsmen against the West ace.
“We’ve never been able to do that before since (Morgan) was in ninth grade,” Coach Hoyer said. “You don’t come into a game thinking you’re going to do that at all. You just hope for two somehow, someway and figure out how to make it stand.”
The Trojans (10-9. 6-8) battled back. They got on the board with Nate Gudenkauf’s two-run double to make it 5-2.
Behn and Sullivan added RBIs in the three-run sixth. West closed the gap to two in the bottom of the inning. The Trojans opened with three straight hits and two walks in a row to chase Behn from the game. Ryne Vander Leest added an RBI single, but that was the closest they got.
“He’s still working his way back from the surgery,” Hoyer said of Behn, who had elbow surgery after last season. “Hopefully, having him go up to 90-plus pitches he builds more endurance. It will help with his next start.”
Braden Hoyer pitched two innings of relief for the save, coming in with the tying run at the plate.
“I was proud of him,” the elder Hoyer said. “That’s a tough spot to be in.”
In the nightcap, Davis hit his seventh home run with a two-run shot in the third. Sullivan followed with a three-run home run later in the inning for his first of the season. Davis added an RBI double in the fourth. Groth had three hits and pitched into the seventh and earned the victory in Game 2.