CEDAR RAPIDS — Nearing the halfway mark of the high school baseball season, fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie still has work to do.
“We have a great group of guys and it’s only going to get better from here,” junior Hunter Whinery said.
The Hawks are off to another hot start.
Prairie has made its presence known with a solid team the last couple of years. In 2016, it won a state championship and, in 2017, qualified for the state tournament.
The Hawks are looking to qualify again this season.
There are 14 seniors on the Hawks’ roster this year, along with 11 juniors, one sophomore and one freshman.
With a 13-4 record, the Hawks have shown consistency and depth. The class of 2019 has had a significant impact this summer.
The juniors have been a part of this team for a while now and “we’ve created some good chemistry together so that definitely helps,” third baseman Hunter Whinery said.
That good chemistry is not limited to the junior class. Shortstop Logan Burg credits senior teammate Jaylynn Smith for being “a big boost for the team, he’s always getting on people to have them put in more effort and more energy.”
The motivation from other players and coaches has shown the Hawks what kind of team they can be.
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“We’re hitting the ball well as a team, hitting around a .370 average,” infielder and pitcher Harrison Cook said. “We (the juniors) have all contributed a lot offensively.”
One junior who is contributing is Ryan Kilpatrick, He has started all 17 games and is batting .390 with nine RBIs.
“Ryan Kilpatrick has done a fantastic job for us this season,” Whinery said. “He’s definitely been a difference maker for the offense.”
Junior pitchers Izaak Lindgren, Clayton Hromidko, Trey Wodke and Harrison Cook — as well as Kilpatrick — also have contributed to Prairie’s continued success.
Cook is 2-1 in four starts with 28 strikeouts in 16 innings.
“Our pitchers have been focusing on throwing the first two pitches as strikes and that’s helping us out,” Burg said.