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Wednesday, May 24, 2017
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Metro Sports Report

Alberts shines as Kirkwood sweeps

Brody Alberts pitched for Todd Rima at Cedar Rapids Prairie and now he's pitching for Coach Rima at Kirkwood.

It's turning out very well.

Alberts made his first start for Kirkwood Tuesday and tossed five shutout innings as the Eagles topped Marshalltown, 10-4, in the first game of a non-conference doubleheader at Kirkwood.

The Eagles captured the second game, 7-5, for their fifth straight victory and raised their record to 23-10.

Alberts, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, graduated from Prairie in 2015 and was red-shirted at Kirkwood last season as a true freshman.

Getting a chance to start Tuesday, he did not allow any runs in the  first five innings before being touched for two runs in the sixth inning and departing the mound.

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Aikey joins new Iowa Women's Softball League

The new Iowa Women's Softball League has reached all the way into Kentucky for its 40th player.

Kelsey Aikey, a Waverly-Shell Rock graduate who is currently pitching for Western Kentucky University, has joined the program that will begin this summer in Cedar Rapids.

Aikey pitched for Cedar Falls High School for four years before transferring to Waverly-Shell Rock as a senior in 2016, when she went 19-3 with a sparkling 0.87 earned run average. Aikey struck out 261 batters in 161 innings that season and also hit .381 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs.

Aikey currently has a 4-3 record and 3.37 ERA as a freshman at Western Kentucky, an NCAA Division I school that competes in Conference USA.

(CLICK HERE TO REGISTER)

The Iowa Women's Softball League has been formed by the Metro Sports Report as the only summer collegiate fast-pitch softball league in Iowa. The goal is to have four teams with 12 or 13 players apiece, so we're getting close with 40 players.

All told, 19 different colleges have at least one player in the  league. The list includes Kirkwood, UNI, Coe, Mount Mercy, Luther, Wartburg, Waldorf, Illinois State, Indian Hills, Loras, South Dakota  State, Upper Iowa, DMACC, Western Illinois, Southeastern Community College, Indiana State, Ellsworth, Webster and Western Kentucky.

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Nearad tops national stats again for KCC

FORT DODGE - Taylor Nearad led the nation in four categories last season when she was named the National Junior College Player of the Year.

The Kirkwood star is doing it again this season.

Nearad went 5-for-8 Sunday with a double, home run, five runs scored and three RBIs as the second-ranked Eagles swept a conference doubleheader from 15th-ranked Iowa Central, 9-0 and 13-3, in Fort Dodge.

Nearad leads all NJCAA Division II players this season in hits (70), runs (69), doubles (23) and triples (7). She also ranks fifth in RBIs (53) and sixth in home runs (12) and is hitting .511.

Last year, Nearad led the nation in homers (30), RBIs (129), hits (145) and runs (114) and ranked second in doubles (31), third in triples (11) and third in batting average (.602).

Kirkwood has numerous players on the national leader boards again this season after sweeping Iowa Central.

Maddie Hansen leads the nation in RBIs (62) and ranks third in homers (13). Lexi Kinnaird leads the nation in pitching victories (17) and strikeouts (179).

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Hansen swats 2 homers as Eagles sweep

A member of the Kirkwood softball team was positioned behind the outfield fence Friday afternoon when Maddie Hansen took batting practice with the Eagles.

The unnamed player kept extremely busy, chasing countless home runs as  Hansen swatted a series of long fly balls over the padded barrier in left field, left-center and center.

Hansen carried her sweet swing into Saturday's doubleheader against Southwestern Community College as the Eagles swept the twinbill, 6-2 and 12-2, in conference action.

Hansen, an All-American catcher, belted two homers and drove in four runs in the doubleheader as Kirkwood raised its records to 33-2 overall and 11-1 in the league.

Hansen is hitting .529 with 12 homers and 59 RBIs this season. She leads Kirkwood in all three departments and ranks first in the nation in RBIs, fourth in home runs and 11th in batting average.

The Cedar Rapids Jefferson grad is getting plenty of competition for the team lead in all three departments, but right now she's on top of  the pack on the power-hitting club.

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Kinnaird gets her K's for Eagles

Lexi Kinnaird does not want to jinx herself by peeking at the national stats for junior college pitchers, but she'd certainly like the numbers if she took a look.

The Kirkwood sophomore leads all NJCAA Division II hurlers by a wide margin in strikeouts with 154 K's in 100 innings and she ranks second in the country with 15 wins.

They do not keep a stat for strikeout-to-walk ratio, but if they did Kinnaird would lead that category as well. Remarkably, she's walked only seven batters in 100 innings, an average of one pass every 14  frames.

Kinnaird (15-2, 1.61 ERA) showed pinpoint control again Thursday as the second-ranked Eagles rallied to top Southeastern Community College, 4-2, in the first game of a doubleheader at Kirkwood.

The Eagles (31-2) also rallied for an 8-4 victory in the nightcap.

Kinnaird fanned eight batters and did not walk a soul in the 4-2 verdict in Game 1 for Coach Joe Yegge's club.

Kinnaird struck out 163 batters and walked 43 in 160 innings last year, so she's well ahead of that pace this season. Her control was good last year, but now it's fantastic.

She said she's not doing anything different this year, but the numbers have been phenomenal.

"It's really something that Yegge has pushed from the beginning, pounding the zone and getting ahead early," she said. "So I think that's been my thought process for every at-bat.

"That's really helped me a lot this year, but nothing special."

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