Prep Softball

Kennedy, City High tangle in 5A top-5 softball matchup Friday

Little Hawks escaped Cougars' shadow last year at state

Iowa City High players celebrate during their 10-2 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy in a Class 5A quarterfinal at last year
Iowa City High players celebrate during their 10-2 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy in a Class 5A quarterfinal at last year’s state softball tournament. The teams collide in a Mississippi Valley Conference cross-divisional doubleheader Friday at City High. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Due to the coronavirus and the shortened season, there are no conference-championship implications when Cedar Rapids Kennedy visits Iowa City High for a softball doubleheader.

Still, Friday’s matchup is circle-the-date material.

“We’re excited just to be playing,” Kennedy Coach Maddison LeClere said. “It’s two very good teams, with most of their players back from last year.

“Plus, obviously, we’d like some redemption from last year.”

First pitch is 5:30 p.m. at City High. Both teams are 2-0 heading into Thursday’s games (5A fourth-ranked Kennedy hosts Cedar Rapids Washington; No. 2 City High is at Iowa City Liberty).

Here’s a reflection of the magnitude of Friday’s MVC cross-divisional twinbill — despite limited seating options, City Coach Jeff Koenig said the school is looking into the possibility of live-steaming the game and showing it on the video board at nearby Bates Field for any overflow crowd.

Kennedy won a pair of 2-1 regular-season decisions last year, but the Little Hawks more than reversed that in the postseason, winning their state-quarterfinal matchup, 10-2. City went on to finish third.

“(The Cougars) had always been like the boogeyman to us,” Koenig said. “It seemed in the past, that we’d get a little hesitant in the back of our minds. It was big for our program to see that we could do that.”

Both teams are complete squads with strong pitching and plenty of power at the plate.

University of Nebraska signee Kaylin Kinney leads the Cougars; she’s 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in the pitching circle and had one of Kennedy’s five home runs in an opening-night sweep of Cedar Rapids Xavier. Addy Alber swatted three home runs and drove in eight runs.

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“We’re preaching to have a doubles focus,” LeClere said. “If we’re swinging to hit doubles, some of our mishits might turn into singles, and sometimes doubles go over the fence.”

City High’s Keli Potter also homered three times Tuesday as the Little Hawks took two from Waterloo West. Ayana Lindsey and Ella Cook both are 1-0; Lindsey did not allow a run Tuesday.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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