Prep Baseball

Potent offense powers Cedar Rapids Prairie to sweep of Cedar Rapids Washington

Mason Hook has become productive part of Hawks lineup

Prairie's Mason Hook is congratulated for scoring a run during a game last season. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Prairie's Mason Hook is congratulated for scoring a run during a game last season. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Mason Hook has asserted himself as a key contributor in the heart of Cedar Rapids Prairie’s batting order.

The senior designated hitter has increased his production, hitting for average and driving in runs to give the Hawks some flexibility with personnel.

Hook helped Class 4A fourth-ranked Prairie to a doubleheader sweep of Cedar Rapids Washington on Tuesday night at Mount Mercy’s Plaster Athletic Complex. Hook had two hits and drove in three runs in the Hawks’ 13-7 victory in the second game. Prairie finished a 10-0 victory in five innings, which was resumed after being postponed Monday by weather.

Prairie (17-5, 12-3) took sole possession of first place in the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division. Washington (14-9, 10-5) fell two games back.

“I thought everyone in the lineup had a good approach tonight,” Prairie Coach Todd Rima said. “We feel like we can score a bunch of runs.

“They can pitch it so we knew we were going to have to have good approaches at the plate and we took advantage of any mistakes that they made.”

Hook has filled the role in the No. 3 spot well, allowing all-stater Levi Usher to move to the leadoff spot. Hook has already surpassed last year’s total in hits and RBIs. He is hitting more than 100 points better than a year ago.

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“Mason is having an unbelievable year,” Rima said. “Him in the middle of the order allows us to hit Levi (first). He can be the run producer we thought Levi would be in the middle. Instead, we can put Levi at the leadoff spot and let him run the bases and hope Mason and Harrison (Cook) can drive him in.”

Hook ranks among the team leaders in hits and RBIs for a team that was second in hits and fourth in runs in 4A before the doubleheader against Washington. He hit an RBI double in the five-run second and a two-run double in the sixth-run sixth.

“I’m not trying to do too much and just hitting line drives,” Hook said. “I just tried to hit the middle of the ball.”

Prairie has shown an ability to put up a lot of runs, averaging about nine runs a game. The Hawks pounded 11 hits in the nightcap. Usher had a team-high three hits, including two RBI singles in Prairie’s multi-run innings.

The Hawks have learned to feed off each other once the bats get going.

“Personally, I feel no pressure,” Usher said. “When I’m up to the plate, it’s just fun. When we really get going, it’s hard to stop us. It’s just fun and relaxing.”

Ryan Kilpatrick added two hits and an RBI and pinch-hitter Zach Barden had a two-run single in the sixth. Seven batters had at least one hit and five scored twice.

“Everyone has been hitting well this year,” Hook said. “We do well, putting innings together.

“We at least try to put up a crooked number every inning and that’s what we have been doing.”

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Caleb Fuller earned the victory for the Hawks, throwing 5 1/3 innings. He allowed four runs on five hits, overcoming three straight hits to open the game and an error that helped Washington score two in the opening inning.

“I thought Fuller gave us an awesome start,” said Rima, who praised Hunter Whinery for closing the resumed without burning more pitchers. “He gave us exactly what we needed.”

Lincoln Riley had two hits and two RBIs in game two for Washington. Riley and Joe McKinstry each scored twice. Nick Nading had an RBI single to score McKinstry in the fourth.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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