116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – Max White’s hustle and Wiley Sullivan’s arm paid dividends for Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
White, the Cougars’ leadoff man, reached third his first two at-bats, leading to scores. Sullivan, the right-handed starter, scattered six hits and threw six straight scoreless innings.
Kennedy made the most of three hits and defeated Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 5-1, in a Mississippi Valley Conference baseball game Tuesday during Junior Cougars Night at Herkelman Field. It was the Cougars’ second consecutive win over the J-Hawks in two days.
“Outside of the first inning, it was what we want to be about,” Kennedy Coach Bret Hoyer said. “Pitching and defense.”
Jefferson (1-9) took a lead in the first on Logan Willman’s RBI single to left that scored Josiah Szabo, who opened the game with a walk.
Sullivan didn’t allow another run and the Cougars played clean baseball, allowing just two runners to reach scoring position after the first. Sullivan struck out eight batters, retiring six straight batters on the middle innings and five in a row to close the game.
Sullivan was notified about the start a couple hours before game time when Braden Hoyer (possible return Saturday) couldn’t play due to illness.
“He jumped at the opportunity,” the elder Hoyer said. “He executed pitches really well all night long.”
White provide all of the runs Kennedy needed in his first two plate appearances. White walked to lead off the bottom of the first, hustling all the way to third when ball four reached the backstop and the catcher was unable to locate it. He raced home on a wild pitch to tie the game, 1-1.
He returned to the plate in the third. White drilled a triple to the right-center fence to score Payton McAfee, who reached on an error.
“He’s done that his entire career,” Hoyer said of White. “I’ve watched him since he was 7. He always hustles and plays hard. He looks for opportunities to extend things and take an extra base. He’s just real smart and has great instincts.
“He really gets us charged up and gets us going. It was neat to have a good crowd here for these guys to play in front of and to hear that noise in that first inning was a lot of fun.”
The Cougars (8-3) kept the lead for good.
Kennedy added two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. Dylan Davis reached base in each frame, stealing third and scoring on an errant throw. Rowan Donels scored on a bases-loaded walk to White in the fourth.
Willman and Kaden Haller had two hits apiece to lead Jefferson.
Kennedy will face Cedar Rapids Prairie in a rematch of the Metro tournament semifinal.