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Thursday, August 17, 2017
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Metro Sports Report

Softball league looks to expand in 2018

Players, coaches and fans all agree that the new Iowa Women's Softball League was a smash hit in Year 1.

Now league directors are planning to make it even better in 2018 by adding more teams and expanding into Central Iowa.

The first season of the IWSL ended Sunday with exciting games at the  Kirkwood and Coe softball fields.

Emil's Hideaway topped Construction Materials, 6-2, in a single nine-inning affair at Kirkwood.

Ironside Apparel and Hawkeye Convenience Stores battled to a 3-3 tie in game that ended in a deadlock due a time limit, then Hawkeye Convenience Stores took the nightcap 6-2.

Ironside Apparel, which clinched the league title last week, finished the season with an 11-6-1 record. Emil's Hideaway finished 9-8,  Hawkeye Convenience Stores was 9-8-1 and Construction Materials  finished at 5-12.

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Massner's monster night lifts Norway

NORWAY - Kace Massner could have easily been down on Sunday night.

Massner, a redshirt freshman outfielder at the University of Iowa, wasn't one of the players selected to play for the Hawkeyes in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan., this week.

With his Hawkeye teammates playing in Wichita, Massner took his usual spot in center field for the Norway Bandits as they hosted Iowa Valley League champion Fairfax in a season-ending twinbill.

And did he have a night to remember.

Massner went 6-for-9 in the doubleheader, belting a pair of three-run homers, including a game-tying shot in the bottom of the 10th inning in Game 2, leading the Bandits to a sweep over the Stars, 11-3 and 4-3 in 11 innings.

The sweep allowed Norway to overtake Red Top for second place in the league at 12-8, three games behind Fairfax. Red Top split with Williamsburg on Sunday to finish at 11-9.

Massner obviously would have rather been in Wichita with his Hawkeye teammates on Sunday. If he was disappointed, it certainly didn't show in his play.

"I just did what I was told," Massner said about not making the trip. "I just keep working every day to get better. I wasn't picked to go to  the tournament, but I just came up here with the goal of improving each time I play."

A 6-foot-5, 225-pound left-handed hitter out of Burlington High School, Massner spent last season as a redshirt, rehabbing after undergoing shoulder surgery during his senior year of high school.

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Red Top scores 14 runs in one inning

WILLIAMSBURG - Red Top exploded for 14 runs in the fourth inning Sunday and drubbed Williamsburg, 15-0, in the first game of their Iowa Valley League doubleheader in Williamsburg.

Reid Bonner collected two hits and scored two runs during the 14-run frame. He finished with three hits and three runs in the contest.  Mitch Silberstein tossed a complete-game shutout.

Red Top scored eight runs in the top of the first inning of the nightcap, but Williamsburg rallied for an 11-10 victory and the split.  Vic Malloy pitched well in relief for the Red Sox and was credited with the victory.

Izaya Ono-Fullard and Tyler Rahmatulla had two hits for Red Top in Game 2.

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IVL, Hawkeyes help each other

IOWA CITY - The University of Iowa baseball program has been a good provider of talent for the Iowa Valley League over the past several years.

So when Coach Rick Heller needed some rare summer competition for his Hawkeyes to sharpen their skills for a pair of upcoming tournaments, the IVL players and coaches were more than happy to help out.

The Hawkeyes, fresh off an NCAA Tournament appearance in June, were selected to represent the United States in the World University Games, scheduled for Aug. 16-30 in Taipei, Taiwan. Prior to that trip, the Hawkeyes will play in the National Baseball Congress World Series next week in Wichita, Kan.

Hence the need for some tuneup games.

"I called Fritz (Red Top general manager) Kinzenbaw in the winter and  talked to him about it," Heller said after Iowa downed an IVL All-Star team, 7-3, Tuesday night at Duane Banks Field. "They were in the process of making their schedule and they were willing to help us out.

"I played in that league for a long time," Heller continued. "I really appreciate those guys taking their night league off and helping us to prepare to play in the World Games."

The Hawks will play another exhibition game against Red Top of the IVL on Thursday prior to opening play in the NBC World Series on Sunday night.

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Stars end Red Top's IVL reign

WALFORD - The regular-season Iowa Valley League championship has been the exclusive property of Red Top since the summer of 2011.

That all changed here Sunday afternoon as the Fairfax Stars secured the 2017 title after downing Watkins, 5-2, in the second game of a doubleheader.

Watkins got home runs from Jonny Frese and Luke Farley to post a 3-1 win in the opener.

Player/Manager Chico Lizarraga's Stars, with a roster featuring a number of former Cedar Rapids Kennedy standouts, sits at 15-3 with only a 5 p.m. twinbill next Sunday at Norway remaining. Red Top fell back into a tie for second with Norway at 10-8 after being swept by Walford, 8-2 and 15-7, on Sunday in Norway while the Bandits were sweeping a twinbill from Williamsburg.

After clinching the title, the Stars posed for a quick team photo and then celebrated quietly with some cold beverages.

"We've got a good group of veterans and a good bunch of young guys,"  said Lizarraga, who also serves as an assistant coach on Bret Hoyer's staff at Kennedy. "We have a really good chemistry together and that's why I think we came out on top of the league."

The Stars have been a team that has adapted all season. They haven't played a home game all summer in Fairfax. They have played home games at Kennedy and Iowa City West as well as here on Sunday. Lizarraga said the reason for not playing in Fairfax all summer had to do with the field.

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