CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Jefferson receives a reminder of the program’s baseball history every time they practice or arrive for a home game.
The J-Hawks knew they had a chance to add to the tradition Wednesday night.
From the view of their home field, the Class 4A eighth-ranked J-Hawks defeated Cedar Rapids Washington, 6-0, for the championship of the Bob Vrbicek Metro baseball tournament at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“We talked to the guys and said when you walk into our ballpark and you look at the back of the concession stand there are dates on there,” Jefferson co-head coach Terry Schneekloth said after the J-Hawks’ semifinal win Tuesday. “They have a chance to add a date on there. You get to walk in down the road and say, 'I was part of that.' It’s a chance to be part of the legacy.”
Jefferson won its first Metro tournament title since 2009, adding this year’s team to the past title teams on display. The J-Hawks won their 14th Metro tournament title, which is more than any other school, breaking a tie with Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
“It means a lot,” Brayden Frazier said. “We walk in there every day and see that. We know how many times it’s been done and how long.
“We’re just trying to live up to that, but it definitely feels good to get one up there, for sure.”
Jefferson topped two state qualifiers from a year ago, beating No. 5 Prairie in the semifinals. The J-Hawks have created some momentum to start the season.
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“I think we’re playing well as a team,” Jefferson’s Zach Grant said. “We’re really talkative and playing as a whole.”
Jefferson (3-0) used a few free passes and aggressive base running to push a run across in the first. Frazier drew a walk and stole second and third, while his younger brother, Drake Frazier, walked and stole second. Grant followed with a groundout to first, scoring Brayden Frazier with the opening run.
“We’ve got a lot of fast guys,” Brayden Frazier said. “We have a lot of guys who are smart on the base paths so we’re going to take advantage of every little mistake the other team gives us. We’re going to take every base we can because we know an extra base here and there will help us in the long run.”
The J-Hawks extended their lead to 2-0 in the third. Willie Guy reached on an errant throw and moved to second on an interference call, scrambling for the ball. Guy moved to third on Brayden Frazier’s infield hit and scored on Drake Frazier’s sacrifice fly to right.
Guy and Drake Frazier teamed up again to help the J-Hawks break things open in the four-run fifth, taking a 6-0 lead. Guy led off with a walk and scored on Drake Frazier’s double down the third-base line. Grant followed with a double to bring in the younger Frazier and scored on an error. Logan Pady added an RBI single to cap the scoring.
“Eventually, we started getting a couple knocks down the line,” Schneekloth said. “That’s where we kind of pulled away.”
Jon Cross and Pady combined on a shutout. Cross went 2 2/3 innings in his first varsity start, while Pady came in and stifled Washington batters the rest of the way. They allowed just three hits. The Warriors’ lone base runner to reach third was thrown out at home to end the bottom of the first.
“Those guys really stepped up,” Brayden Frazier said about Cross and Pady. “We couldn’t have asked more from Jon and Logan is always consistent.”
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Jacob Bockenstedt, Kaleb Donels and Mick McCurry had one hit apiece for Washington (2-1). The Warriors earned their second straight Metro tournament runner-up finish.
Prairie 14, Xavier 7
Cedar Rapids Prairie overcame an early deficit, erupting for 13 runs in a three-inning span and defeating Cedar Rapids Xavier for third place in the Bob Vrbicek Metro baseball tournament Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Mason Hook provided the exclamation point to the outburst, belting a grand slam over the left-field wall to cap the five-run top of the fifth. Hook finished with two hits and five RBIs, hitting an RBI single in the Hawks’ four-run fourth.
Prairie (2-1) began to chip away at a 3-0 Xavier lead when Jaylynn Smith’s bases-loaded walk forced in Hunter Whinery, who led the Hawks with three hits. Levi Usher and Harrison Cook sparked a four-run third with consecutive doubles to lead off the third. Whinery had a sacrifice fly and Sam Lockhart added an RBI double in the frame. Lockhart and Usher had two hits apiece.
Gabe Lux reached base three times for Xavier, hitting a two-run single in the third for the Saints’ last lead at 6-5. Garrett Ries had a hit and two RBIs for Xavier (1-2).
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