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Tuesday, June 27, 2017
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Metro Sports Report

New softball league enjoys fast start

The big smiles and all the thank-you's told the story Sunday afternoon as the new Iowa Women's Softball League was warmly embraced by players, coaches, fans and the local media.

The Opening Day doubleheaders at the Kirkwood and Coe diamonds marked the beginning of the only fast-pitch summer softball league for college players in the entire state.

College softball players finally have a summer league of their own, and from the looks of things the program will grow in future years as the word continues to spread and players enjoy the games.

The Iowa Women's Softball League was created and organized by theMetro Sports Report with a lot of terrific help from college coaches, good friends and especially by the players themselves.

There are players from 23 different colleges and 34 different high schools in the league, with a nice mixture of NCAA, NAIA and Junior College players.

For the record, Ironside Apparel swept a doubleheader from Emil's Hideaway Restaurant, 3-2 and 8-4, in a pair of well-played games at Kirkwood.

Hawkeye Convenience Stores and Construction Materials split a  twinbill at Coe, with Hawkeye Convenience Stores taking the first game 4-3 and Construction Materials winning the second game 10-0 behind a shutout by Kirkwood ace Lexi Kinnaird.

Jaclyn Spencer, a star pitcher for the University of Northern Iowa, tossed six shutout innings for Ironside Apparel in its 3-2 victory in the first game. Spencer struck out 10 batters and spaced three singles.

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Pauli can't get enough baseball

NORWAY - There is no such thing as too much baseball for Casey Pauli.

If the former Kirkwood and Wartburg infielder doesn’t get his fill of the game as an assistant coach for defending 4A champion Cedar Rapids Prairie or as the coach for his 6-year-old son Caden’s team, there is always his playing career to fill the void.

The 33-year-old Pauli suited up for another season of Iowa Valley League baseball on Sunday, helping Red Top salvage a doubleheader split with Norway with a 15-10 win in Game 2.

“There’s never too much baseball,” Pauli said. “It doesn’t get old, I just love being around the game in any way I can.”

Baseball has been a big part of his life for as long as Pauli can remember. For a decade and a half, the Iowa Valley League has helped feed Pauli’s love for baseball.

He started playing in the league in 2002 and now serves as a sort of player/coach for Red Top.

“I still get to play a little bit but I’m moving more into the coaching side, if I can still hang with these young bucks that’s all right,” he said. “It’s just fun to still be out here playing the best game.”

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Bell helps Fairfax sweep IVL twinbill

WALFORD - Cody Bell hit two home runs and picked up the victory in Game 2 as Fairfax swept Walford, 11-0 and 11-1, on Opening Day in the Iowa Valley League Sunday in Walford.

Bell and Sammy Lizarraga belted two-run homers in the first game. Tyler Dralle, Steve Jensen and Alex Hayden had two hits for Fairfax, which exploded for eight runs in the fifth inning.

Austin Czerwiez allowed only one hit in five innings in the opener for Fairfax.

Bell socked another home run in the second game and was named the Iowa  Valley League Player of the Week for his overall performance as a hitter and pitcher.

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Lansing, Esker win state tennis title

WATERLOO - Jon Lansing and Charlie Esker of Xavier enjoyed a remarkable run at the Class 1A state tennis tournament Saturday and captured the first doubles title in school history.

Lansing and Esker topped Luke Willis and Ryan Willis, 6-4, 6-2, in the championship at the Byrnes Park Tennis Center in Waterloo.

Lansing, a junior, and Esker, a senior, were the No. 1 seed in the state tournament and the Willis twins were the No. 2 seed.

Lansing and Esker went 4-0 at the state tournament and did not a set. They won 6-2, 6-0 in the first round, 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals, 6-2, 6-0 again in the semifinals and 6-4, 6-2 in the finals.

"It was pretty awesome," said Xavier Coach Jim Potts. "They're playing their best tennis right now. It's a good time to do it."

Lansing and Esker raised their record to 16-5 for the season.

Potts said the players communicate very well on the court.

"Jon's strength would be his control. He's always in control," the coach said. "And he's phenomenal at the net. A great net player.

"Charlie serves well. He's also very good at the net. Quick hands."

Alex Hinrichs and Ryan Jasper of Xavier also had a good weekend at the state tournament as Xavier's No. 2 doubles team. They won three of five matches and placed seventh out of 16 teams.

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Saints march back to state again

The Xavier Saints were sorely disappointed last year when they were upset by Hudson in the opening round of the Class 2A boys state soccer tournament.

Now they hope to make amends.

The fourth-ranked Saints dumped Mount Pleasant, 4-0, in the substate finals Saturday at Heco Field and are heading back to the state  tournament for the 16th time in the last 17 years.

The Saints were one of the top-ranked teams in the state last year  when they lost 3-2 in the first round.

"I think we've had a chip on our shoulder from Day 1," Xavier Coach Amir Hadzic acknowledged. "That was really a bad feeling for everybody."

The Saints (12-4) will face the Marion Indians (11-4) in the opening round of the 2017 state tournament on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at the Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines.

Marion is making its first trip to the state tournament in school history. Xavier makes regular trips to state and will be seeking the  eighth title in its rich history.

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