IOWA CITY — As they arrived for their doubleheader late Friday afternoon at Iowa City West, the Iowa City High baseball team saw a sign that was placed near their dugout.
A Trojans logo was on one side of the sign: West’s nickname. A Little Hawks logo was on the other: City High’s nickname.
“Rivals On The Field,” was printed in West green. “United In The Fight!” was in City High red.
This was a fine gesture, a supportive and caring gesture for Skyler Moss. A City High alum and former University of Iowa player, Moss is an assistant coach for the City High sophomore team who is battling cancer for the second time in 10 years.
He beat testicular cancer a decade ago and is fighting Stage 4 lung cancer right now. He just wasn’t feeling well when baseball practice began in June, ran out of breath easily, and went to get checked out.
The diagnosis has rocked everyone in the City High community. Everyone in the baseball community.
“I tell you what, to come over here and see the support they gave was amazing,” said City High Coach Brian Mitchell, whose team won the opener, 10-2, and lost the nightcap, 5-4, on a Collin Leavy walk-off homer leading off the bottom of the seventh. “Just to see the support other schools have displayed as well ... Pretty cool. I was really impressed by what they did here.”
As Mitchell mentioned, many opposing schools have had levels of support for Moss as well.
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Iowa City Liberty flies a school flag underneath the American flag on a pole in front of the school. A Little Hawk logo is on the bottom of the Liberty flag, with the hashtag “#6FORSKYLER” next to it.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help Moss, who has a wife and three young children, deal with his medical bills. By all accounts, he is determined to beat this opponent again.
“He’s doing good, just had his second round of chemo,” Mitchell said. “He was out and about today, so he’s doing well. But it’s day to day.”
City High (9-6) had 14 hits to win the opener, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Garrett Bormann had a run-scoring hit in the fourth and another in the sixth to help the Little Hawks extend their lead and put things completely away.
City High worked West ace pitcher Marcus Morgan for seven walks in five-plus innings of the nightcap, but left the bases loaded in the sixth, with West reliever Drew Klein working out of a highly precarious situation with three strikeouts, including back to back to end the inning.
Leavy obliterated a 1-0 fastball from City High reliever Egan Smith to win it. The towering drive down the left-field line went onto the roof of the school that borders the baseball field.
“Did it really? Wow,” Leavy said, when told where his shot landed. “I saw it off the bat, but I didn’t bother to watch. Because last time I kind of watched it, and my coaches made fun of me. So this time I didn’t want to make the same mistake.”
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