CEDAR RAPIDS — Maddison LeClere could stay away for only so long.
“I was only going to give myself a week off, and people said I was crazy,” LeClere said about her maternity leave from the Cedar Rapids Kennedy softball team. “I told (my husband) Nick, I’ve got to get back.”
Thirteen days after giving birth to a daughter, LeClere was back in the dugout, and the Class 5A second-ranked Cougars swept Linn-Mar 9-1 and 2-0 in a Mississippi Valley Conference softball doubleheader Tuesday night at Kennedy High School.
Kaylin Kinney opened with a no-hitter, then Jayme Scheck followed with a one-hit gem in which she retired the final 19 batters she faced.
“We’ve got our two aces back, and they know the kind of work it takes in the offseason,” LeClere said.
A junior, Kinney was named the Iowa Gatorade player of the year within the last week. It was her second no-hitter of the season.
“I’m really excited (about the award),” Kinney said. “I’m so grateful for my coaches and teammates.”
Kennedy (7-1 overall, 6-0 MVC) wasn’t hurting for motivation. In addition to having LeClere back, the Cougars were facing the team that knocked them out in the 5A regional semifinals last year.
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“We’re on a mission,” Kinney said. “We had a great season last year, but it didn’t end the way we wanted.”
Seven of Kennedy’s runs in the first game were unearned. The Cougars jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, then tacked on three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth.
Alyssa Martin and Kinney hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth.
Kinney struck out nine batters, walked one and hit one.
Scheck fanned 11. The sophomore surrendered a two-out single to Charli Patten in the top of the first inning, but that was all the Lions (3-3, 3-3) could muster.
Carlee Smith’s double plated a run in the bottom of the second, then Alyssa Martin’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0 in the third. Linn-Mar pitcher Hannah Gralund kept the Lions in it, scattering nine hits.
CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 9-2, LINN-MAR 1-0
At C.R. Kennedy
Linn-Mar 000 010 0 — 1 0 5
C.R. Kennedy 300 033 x — 9 9 2
Madison Beard, Briley Berning (6) and Charli Patten. Kaylin Kinney, and Abby Spore. W — Kinney (4-0). L — Beard (1-2). HR — CRK: Alyssa Martin (2), Kinney (4).
Linn-Mar 000 000 0 — 0 1 0
C.R. Kennedy 011 000 x — 2 9 0
Hannah Gralund and Charli Patten. Jayme Scheck and Abby Spore. W — Scheck (3-1). L — Gralund (2-1).
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