Prep Baseball

Prairie, Jefferson cruise to Metro baseball tournament semifinals

Hawks beat Mount Vernon 10-1, J-Hawks crush Kennedy 12-2

Cedar Rapids Prairie's Logan Burg (26) connects on a pitch for a single during the state baseball tournament at Principal Park in Des Moines on Wednesday, Jul. 26, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie's Logan Burg (26) connects on a pitch for a single during the state baseball tournament at Principal Park in Des Moines on Wednesday, Jul. 26, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — They always say you can tell how good your baseball season is going to be by what the first hitter does.So, basically, Cedar Rapids Prairie should be good.

Logan Burg began the Hawks’ 2018 campaign by roping a triple to the gap in right-center field. Fifth-ranked Prairie went on to blast Mount Vernon, 10-1, in the first round of the Bob Vrbicek Metro Tournament at Cedar Rapids Kennedy.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” Burg said, with a grin. “I had a 1-2 count, and I was not trying to do that. He gave me a good pitch to hit, and it just went in the gap.”

Prairie is ranked fifth in Class 4A preseason by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association and looked every bit the part here, overwhelming its opponent. The Hawks pieced together a five-run first, getting RBI singles from Mason Hook and Sam Lockhart and a two-run single from Ryan Kilpatrick.

Starting pitcher Caleb Fuller threw the first five innings, allowing just two hits and a run. Izaak Lindgren and Trey Wodke finished up with a scoreless inning each.

“My biggest concern coming into this season was our defense. I thought tonight Burg was great at shortstop, (Blake) Wheeler comes in and is great at shortstop, too,” said Coach Todd Rima. “We made every play. Then our pitching had 77 pitches in seven innings. Threw a ton of strikes, I thought Fuller was really good. It was a great start. I think we’ve got a chance to swing it. We’ll be challenged tomorrow.”

Rima is pulling double duty right now, also coaching Kirkwood Community College, which has advanced to the NJCAA Division II World Series, beginning this weekend in Enid, Okla. Prairie plays Cedar Rapids Jefferson in a Metro Tournament semifinal Tuesday night about 7.

Eighth-ranked Jeff blew past Kennedy, 12-2, in six innings.

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“We came out fired up,” Burg said. “I could tell from the beginning of the game that we were going to come out and play like we can. I think if we can keep playing like this, and with a little more energy, we’re going to be really tough to beat.”

“It’s been crazy, hectic. I don’t know,” Rima said, when asked what his schedule has been like. “But it’s not about me right now. It’s just about coaching great kids and helping kids have a great experience.”

Jefferson was pretty much handed its win, as Kennedy made a whopping 10 errors. Drake Frazier had two run-scoring doubles and an RBI single for the J-Hawks.

His brother, Brayden (an Iowa recruit) had two hits and a walk.

“It’s a big rivalry,” said Jefferson Co-Coach Terry Schneekloth. “I don’t care if we win 1-0 or 12-2. It doesn’t matter to us. We got the W. Our goal was to go into tomorrow night, move forward in the tournament.”

Starter Connor Van Scoyoc threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, four walks and two runs. The right-hander, an Arizona State signee, struck out eight, hitting a top velocity of 90 miles per hour with his fastball.

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

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