CEDAR RAPIDS — They’re hungry. How hungry?
“We are haven’t-eaten-in-a-week hungry,” Kaylin Kinney said.
OK, they’re famished. And Monday night, the Kennedy Cougars were super sharp.
Class 5A third-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy scored multiple runs in every inning and blasted Linn-Mar twice, 12-0 and 13-1, in an MVC Valley Division softball doubleheader at Kennedy High School.
The first game was over in three innings. The nightcap lasted four. It was a hitting clinic by the Cougars (15-1, 10-0), who clinched at least a share of their fifth consecutive divisional title.
Kennedy batted just seven times, but racked up 24 hits, featuring seven doubles and two home runs.
One of the homers came from a likely source in Kinney. The other came from Izzy Wright.
You could say Wright is a victim of Kennedy’s depth. One of eight seniors, Wright has started in four games and had only 17 at-bats this season prior to Monday.
“I’ve been in and out (of the lineup), but I’m there when they need me,” Wright said. “For the role I’m playing, I think I’ve played it well.”
Wright’s three-run homer capped a six-run first inning in the opener, and Kennedy was off and rolling.
“So happy for her,” Kennedy Coach Maddison LeClere said. “I’ve had a lot of conversations with Izzy. With success comes competition. We stress competing with each other and against our opponents.”
The finish line is in sight for the Cougars, who ache to get another shot at the state tournament. Last year, they went 0-2 at Fort Dodge.
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They have all of the tools necessary to return and redeem, including sluggers galore and pitching depth.
A University of Nebraska recruit, Kinney reached base all six times she came to the plate. She had two singles, a double, a homer and walked twice. She scored six runs — once on a double steal — and drove in five.
And in the pitching circle, she pushed her scoreless streak to 20 innings this season.
“I love groundouts. I love popouts,” she said. “I want to continue to improve and play at a higher level.”
Linn-Mar (8-8, 4-8) scored its lone run in Game 2 on Caelynn Obleton’s RBI double. That cut Kennedy’s lead to 6-1, but the Cougars went right back to work.
Alyssa Martin, the No. 9 hitter, hit a two-run single in the third for a 9-1 lead, then ended the game with an RBI single in the fourth.
CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 12-13, LINN-MAR 0-1 (3,4)
At C.R. Kennedy
Linn-Mar 000 — 0 1 1
C.R. Kennedy 624 — 12 10 0
Madison Beard, Briley Berning (1) and Olivia Holm. Kaylin Kinney and Abby Spore. W — Kinney (4-0). L — Beard (2-3). HR — CRK: Izzy Wright (1).
Linn-Mar 001 0 — 1 4 0
C.R. Kennedy 333 4 — 13 14 1
Hannah Gralund, Caelynn Obleton (3) and Olivia Holm. Jayme Scheck and Abby Spore. W — Scheck (5-0). L — Gralund (4-4). HR — CRK: Kaylin Kinney (2).
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