CEDAR RAPIDS — If teams are going to intentionally walk Kaylin Kinney, somebody else needs to step forward if Cedar Rapids Kennedy is going to meet its lofty goals in July.
Why not Addy Alber?
A fearless eighth-grader, Alber was 4-for-6, reached base in all six of her plate appearances and drove in four runs as Class 5A fourth-rated Kennedy swept 4A No. 10 Cedar Rapids Xavier, 11-0 and 5-2, in a Mississippi Valley Conference softball doubleheader Tuesday night at Kennedy High School.
“When I started my first game (Monday, at Iowa City West), it was like, “Whoa, this is amazing to me,’” Alber said. “But I feel welcome. It feels like home, and I feel like I’m supposed to be here.
“When I’m in the field, I have to feel like I want the ball hit to me. When I’m at the plate, I have to want the other team to pitch to me. I can’t be timid. I want to go out and play.”
Kennedy (19-1 overall, 16-0 MVC) extended its winning streak to 15 and its MVC winning string to 25 games. The Cougars have allowed 16 runs in 20 games.
Kinney (10-0) threw a five-inning no-hitter in the opener, then earned the save in Game 2, pitching three scoreless innings.
In her four games as a starter, Alber is hitting .750 (9 for 12).
“Her last two (pinch-hitting appearances), she had two hits and drove in four,” Kennedy Coach Maddison LeClere said. “I just decided to throw her in there and see how it goes.”
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Alber made her presence apparent immediately Tuesday. After Xavier Coach Nikki Gahring intentionally passed both Kinney and Abby Spore, Alber laced a two-run single. Mary Krystofiak followed with another two-run single, and the Cougars were off and running.
Kinney was walked six times Tuesday. In her only opportunity to hit, she smacked a solo home run two-thirds the way up a mature tree beyond the center field fence.
Abby Spore added a two-run home run that ended the first game in the bottom of the fifth.
Xavier (14-8, 11-7) managed nine hits in the nightcap, but stranded seven runners.
“You’re not going to get a lot of opportunities against those pitchers, so you have to take advantage when you do get them,” Gahring said. “I’m proud of our fight, the way we turned it from the first game to the second.”
CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 11-5, CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 0-2 (1st, 5)
At C.R. Kennedy
C.R. Xavier 000 00 — 0 0 0
C.R. Kennedy 401 33 — 11 13 1
Kennedy Oleson, Duanna Coyle (5) and Grace Zaugg. Kaylin Kinney and Abby Spore. W — Kinney (10-0). L — Oleson (8-3). HR — CRK: Kinney (6), Spore (2).
C.R. Xavier 001 100 0 — 2 9 0
C.R. Kennedy 022 010 x — 5 7 1
Mary Morrow and Olivia Richards. Jayme Scheck, Kaylin Kinney (5) and Abby Spore. W — Scheck (9-1). L — Morrow (3-4). SV — Kinney (1).
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