Wednesday, March 21, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

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.


KCC baseball team dumps Hagerstown

VERO BEACH, Fla. - The Kirkwood baseball team got strong pitching Saturday and topped Hagerstown, 9-1, in the first game of their spring trip to Florida.

Cameron Leff allowed only three hits in five innings, with five  strikeouts and two walks. Hagerstown scored an unearned run during Leff's stint on the mound.

Nate Barnes and Ian Delleman both tossed one shutout inning in relief.

Taylor Jackson went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs. Cal Clark was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs. Izaya Fullard was  2-for-3 with two RBIs.


Bevans helps Eagles upend NE Oklahoma

JOPLIN, Mo. - Monika Bevans hit for the cycle and drove in three runs Friday as the Kirkwood Eagles knocked off Northeast Oklahoma A&M  College, 5-2, at the Crowder Bash in Joplin, Mo.

Northeast Oklahoma was ranked No. 6 in the NJCAA Division I poll this week, while Kirkwood was ranked No. 5 in Division II.

The Eagles also topped Carl Albert, 7-1, on Friday, running their record to 11-1 for the campaign.

Kenady Waugh delivered a sacrifice fly for Kirkwood in the 5-2 verdict over Northeast Oklahoma. DoniRae Mayhew collected the win and Natalie  Halvorson got the save in relief.

Halvorson returned to the circle for the game against Carl Albert and tossed a four-hitter with five strikeouts and one walk.


No. 5 Eagles stunned by Iowa Central

The Kirkwood Eagles never imagined their season would end in bitter disappointment in the regional semifinals against a team they defeated twice during the regular season, but that's exactly what happened at Johnson Hall Thursday night.

Iowa Central stunned the fifth-ranked Eagles, 75-74, on a shot by Tray Croft with five seconds left to end Kirkwood's season a lot earlier than anyone expected.

Kirkwood won the conference title this season and finished six games ahead of Iowa Central in the league standings, but the Tritons will be playing for the regional title Saturday while the Eagles rue their misfortune. Iowa Central finished 5-7 in the league this year compared to an 11-1 mark by Kirkwood, but that does not matter now.

"It's just disappointing," said Kirkwood Coach Bryan Petersen, who led the Eagles to the 2016 national title and was hoping for another shot this season. "I feel bad for our group, because we had a really good year and obviously that's not the way we want to go out."

Kirkwood finished with a 24-6 record. There are no at-large bids to the national tournament, so the Eagles are done.

Croft, a sensational 6-foot-1 guard from Alabama, torched the Eagles for 31 points, including the game-winner from just inside the foul line over Kirkwood soph Ethan Meeker.

Croft played all 40 minutes and shot 13 for 26 from the field, with four 3-pointers. He also snared a game-best nine rebounds and had three assists.


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