Monday, March 19, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

KCC women heading back to nationals

Awal Ajak had to sit and watch her Kirkwood teammates win the national title last year after suffering a torn ACL late in the season, but now she's got a chance to finish her junior college career in style.

Arika Wooldridge nearly quit basketball last year after one unhappy season at Winona State, but now she has a chance to help Kirkwood climb to top of the junior colleges again.

So do all the happy Eagles, who are extremely excited about their opportunity to win back-to-back titles.

The second-ranked Eagles rallied for a 65-52 victory over 12th-ranked NIACC in the regional finals Sunday at Johnson Hall to earn a trip to the NJCAA Division II national tournament March 20-24 in Harrison, Ark.

"I'm extremely happy right now," said Ajak, a sophomore from Des Moines who contributed 10 points Sunday. "Even though I didn't make it last year, I was still happy to be on a team that wanted to make it happen and wanted to win the national title.

"I'm extremely overwhelmed with emotion right now. It was a lot of pain, but it paid off."

Wooldridge, who attended high school at Center Point-Urbana, got hurt near the beginning of the season at Winona State last year and did not like being so far away from home in Minnesota. She thought seriously about quitting the game, but Kirkwood Coach Kim Muhl convinced her to give it another shot and play closer to home and family.


KCC softball raises mark to 15-1

JOPLIN, Mo. - The Kirkwood softball team finished with a perfect 6-0 record at the Crowder Bash by winning two more games Sunday in Joplin, Mo.

The fifth-ranked Eagles blanked Labette, 5-0, in their first game and defeated Murray State, 11-4, in their second contest.

Rachel Stewart went 7-for-9 in the two games with three doubles, four runs and five RBIs. She was 2-for-4 against Labette and 5-for-5 against Murray State.

Monika Bevans was 5-for-7 Sunday with a two-run homer and four RBIs. She also walked twice and scored three runs. Hannah Mausser finished 4-for-6 with two walks.

DoniRae Mayhew took a perfect game into the sixth inning against Labette and finished with a three-hitter with three strikeouts.


Kirkwood baseball sweeps Muskegon

VERO BEACH, Fla. - The Kirkwood baseball team drubbed Muskegon in a doubleheader Sunday, 13-2 and 14-0, on the second day of its spring trip to Florida.

The Eagles (9-2) got strong pitching, lots of hitting and sparkling defense in Vero Beach.

Adam Ketelsen tossed five shutout innings in the 14-0 victory in Game 2. He allowed only four hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.

Ellison Hanna went 2-for-3 with a double, four RBIs, two runs and two stolen bases in the second game. Izaya Fullard and Joel Thompson drove in three runs for the Eagles, while Kal Youngquist and Cal Clark had two RBIs.

Taylor Jackson went 2-for-3 with a double, triple and four runs in the opener. Korry Howell scored twice.


No. 2 Kirkwood women escape SCC

One stunning upset of Kirkwood in the regional tournament last week  was tough to digest when the men's basketball team fell by the  wayside, but two upsets would have been a complete disaster.

Fortunately for Kirkwood, their women's team found a way to survive  and advance Saturday at Johnson Hall.

The second-ranked Eagles escaped a major upset bid by Southeastern,  59-52, in the regional semifinals with their 20th straight win to keep  their national title hopes alive.

Kirkwood (30-3) faces 12th-ranked NIACC (26-6) in the regional finals  Sunday at 1 p.m. at Johnson Hall.

Kirkwood whipped Southeastern by 21 and 25 points during the regular  season, but it was a five-point game at 55-50 with 3:45 left with the  outcome seriously in doubt Saturday.

"I felt like we struggled a lot because we weren't ready to play,"  said sophomore point guard Tayana Wilson. "We thought because we beat  them 20-plus points the first two times we played them that we would  walk in and just do the same thing.


McCormick sparks No. 5 Eagles in Missouri

JOPLIN, Mo. - Sonya McCormick had gotten off to a slow start with the Kirkwood softball team this year after transferring from Iowa Central,  but that changed Saturday.

McCormick went 6-for-7 with a two-run homer and six RBIs as the  fifth-ranked Eagles won two more games at the Crowder Bash in Joplin,  Mo.

McCormick, a third baseman, went 3-for-3 with a home run and three  RBIs in a 14-0 victory over Allen County, then she went 3-for-4 with  three more RBIs in a 12-4 verdict over Three Rivers.

McCormick raised her batting average from .167 to a much healthier .323 with her performance. She hit .368 with 11 homers and 54 RBIs as  a freshman at Iowa Central last season.

Monika Bevans went 5-for-7 Saturday with four doubles and six RBIs.


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