Prep Baseball

Cedar Rapids Prairie brushes off pair of shutouts Monday night to blast Kennedy, 15-3

Cedar Rapids Prairie Hawks
Cedar Rapids Prairie Hawks

CEDAR RAPIDS — Sometimes you just can’t figure out the game of baseball. It’s wild, it’s unpredicatable.

That’s the best guess Cedar Rapids Prairie has for its last four days.

Class 4A’s third-ranked team was shut out twice Monday night at home by Cedar Rapids Xavier, losing identical 1-0 games. The second one was in eight innings.

Thursday night, the Hawks scored all kinds of runs to win at Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 15-3. Go figure.

“It’s mentally tough on you, but that’s just how it goes sometimes,” said Prairie’s Levi Usher. “That’s the way the game is. It’s really crazy. (Monday night) really helped us mentally. Made us prepare more. We needed to see something like that.”

Usher, the all-state outfielder, was hit by a pitch, stole a couple of bases and scored in a three-run top of the first inning that got Prairie (21-8) going. Griff Clark’s beautiful drag-bunt single down the third-base line brought home a run, as did Logan Burg’s single through the left side.

Clark helped break the game open in the sixth with a RBI double over the left fielder’s head.

“We always talk about overcoming adversity,” Clark said. “Our bats were a little quiet the other night, but we know we’re a good-hitting team. We tried to keep our confidence up. We know we can put up runs. It’s just baseball.” “I don’t think we played terrible the other night,” said Prairie Coach Todd Rima. “We hit a lot of balls at people. Tonight, they fell. I thought tonight we did a good job of executing early. Griff really got us going, ignited our offense. We needed someone to step up, and Griff did that tonight.”

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Prairie had 10 hits, drew a bunch of walks and had four batters hit by pitches. That’s a ton of baserunners.

Diminutive senior starting pitcher Blake Wheeler pounded the strike zone and threw six good innings for the win. Both of Kennedy’s runs came in the third, on run-scoring hits from Graham Woods and Lane Thole.

The Cougars are even at 11-11. The teams play again Friday night at Prairie.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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