Saturday, July 23, 2016
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Kirkwood spending $750,000 on ballfields

Kirkwood Community College is spending approximately $750,000 to improve its baseball and softball fields on campus.

The project began this spring and both fields will get new padded fences, improved drainage systems, new netting behind home plate and possibly new scoreboards.

"When those two fields are done, I'll be surprised if there's any junior college - and I haven't seen them all - but I'll be surprised if any junior college rivals it in the state," said Doug Wagemester, the athletic director at Kirkwood.

The softball project is expected to be finished by late August, in time for the players returning to school and the start of fall drills.

The baseball project will take a little longer but will be ready for next season. All of the sod has been stripped off the field and the entire surface will be re-seeded, forcing the Eagles to practice at other on-campus sites and Prairie High School this fall.

Wagemester said it was time to address several issues at both fields, which sit next to each other on campus. He said "safety and playability" for the driving forces behind the combined project.

"It was just time," he said. "For 25 years, it's been band-aids. It's always been a little bit of this, a little bit of that. One thing kind of stacked on the next thing and on the next thing."


Daniels, 14, shows her stuff in GTL

NORTH LIBERTY - Caitlynn Daniels is only 14 years old, but she's already playing basketball against college girls in the Game Time League and loving every minute of it.

Daniels will be a freshman at Xavier this year and it's probably a good idea to remember her name. She's already received a recruiting letter from Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder and many more are sure to follow.

Daniels made her debut in the Game Time League Wednesday night in a game that featured three Iowa Hawkeyes at the North Liberty Recreation Center. If you didn't know Daniels just graduated from Regis Middle School last month, you would have guessed she was much older and perhaps a college kid herself.

"I thought she held her own," said Maggie O'Connell, an assistant coach at Xavier who is also her head coach in the Game Time League. "Obviously her conditioning helped her in that respect. She hardly turned the ball over and played pretty solid defense. Good for her."

Daniels, who is a natural point guard with excellent ballhandling skills, played most of the game at a wing position, but O'Connell moved her to the point in the fourth quarter and Daniels showed what she could do with her passing and leadership.

"I was a little nervous at first, but once the game got going it wasn't that scary," she said.

Daniels took only two shots and missed them both, but she collected two assists and two rebounds and made an important contribution as her McCurry's/Vinton Merchants nipped L.L. Pelling, 86-85, on a 3-pointer by Iowa's Alexis Sevillian at the buzzer.


Saints roll into 3A baseball playoffs

The Xavier Saints should be a confident baseball team when they enter the Class 3A district tournament Friday night.

The Saints ended the regular season on another high note Monday with a 7-3 victory over Clinton in a non-conference game at Ken Charipar Field.

The Saints have won nine of their last 11 games after a rugged start, but they'll need all the confidence they can muster in the 3A playoffs.

Xavier (12-22-1) will face DeWitt Central (28-10) in the district opener Friday at approximately 7 p.m. in DeWitt, and waiting in the wings in the district finals is top-ranked Davenport Assumption.

If the Saints handle all that, they could face another tough opponent in the substate finals for a trip to the state tournament.

Xavier collected a methodical victory over Clinton Monday with a 12-hit attack and solid pitching from Adam Tvedt and Sam Meyers. Tvedt struck out eight batters and allowed three runs in five innings for the victory, then Meyers tossed two scoreless frames to finish the game.


Norway, Watkins split IVL twinbill

WATKINS - The Norway Bandits and Watkins Mudhens split an Iowa Valley League doubleheader in Watkins Saturday night.

Norway won the first game, 6-1, and Watkins rebounded in the nightcap for a 13-5 victory.

Sunday's doubleheaders that were supposed to feature Fairfax at Red Top and Williamsburg at Walford were canceled by rain and wet grounds and will be not be rescheduled.


Norway exploded for six runs in the fifth inning of the opener to take control in the 6-1 victory.

Tony Solato drew a walk and Christian Stekl was hit by a pitch to set the table for the Bandits. Ron Benich hit a key double for Norway in the inning and Mitch Walser had a two-run double. Benich and Walser had two hits in the game.

Brady Corson struck out eight batters in six innings for the victory.

Jonny Frese and Luke Hassman had two hits for Watkins in the opener.


Ecker succeeds Bob Brooks at KMRY sports

Nobody remembers who replaced Lou Gehrig at first base for the New York Yankees after the "Iron Horse" had to retire. And few people probably remember who replaced Cal Ripken for the Baltimore Orioles when his legendary streak came to an end.

Someday, I might be the answer to a trivia question like that: Who succeeded Bob Brooks as the sports director at KMRY after Brooksie passed away following eight decades as a broadcasting legend?

Rick Sellers and Eric Walker, my new bosses at KMRY, have decided to give me a chance as the "new kid" who will deliver the sports in Brooksie's old 10-minute time slots at 4:50 p.m. and 5:50 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 1450 AM and 93.1 FM. I'm excited and somewhat apprehensive about the new assignment, but there are many good people at the station who will help guide me through.

I've been a print and digital journalist all my life, including 27 years at The Gazette and the past 5 1/2 years with the Metro Sports Report, so the thought of sitting behind a microphone and talking for 10 minutes at a time is a little daunting.


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