Sunday, August 19, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Stewart playing like All-American for Eagles

Rachel Stewart had two big adjustments to make when she joined the Kirkwood softball team this season.

Stewart was a stalwart at second base for Davenport West during her last three years in high school, but Kirkwood Coach Joe Yegge asked her to move to shortstop due to an injury to another player.

In addition, Stewart hit in the No. 3 spot in high school last season and Yegge wanted her to succeed National Player of the Year Taylor Nearad in the leadoff slot for the Eagles.

She has handled both adjustments in stellar fashion.

"She's been great," Yegge said Sunday after Stewart enjoyed another big day. "She's putting up All-American numbers.

"She didn't want to play shortstop, and when we asked her to do it she was a little hesitant. But she's got a good glove, she's confident now in her arm. She's doing a great job."

The third-ranked Eagles swept Iowa Lakes, 17-7 and 10-1, in their conference doubleheader at Kirkwood.

Stewart went 6-for-9 in the twinbill with two doubles, a sacrifice fly, four RBIs and six runs. She also made three outstanding plays in the field at shortstop.

Stewart is hitting .487 with 13 homers, 56 RBIs, 77 hits and 77 runs in 44 games. She leads all NJCAA Division II players in runs scored, ranks third in hits and is tied for sixth with teammate Lauren Kuch in RBIs.

Nearad was the two-time National Player of the Year at Kirkwood before moving to Iowa State. Stewart is a completely different player, but her production in the leadoff spot has been a key ingredient for the Eagles.

"Coming in here I knew that Taylor Nearad was an incredible player, but I knew that I was my own player," she said. "To do what I needed to do to fill that spot was going to be difficult, but I've done the best I can to live up to it."

Stewart said she takes more pitches and works the count a little more as a leadoff hitter, as opposed to batting in the No. 3 spot in the order like she did at Davenport West. And she's been the spark-plug for a team that has a .400 composite batting mark and averages 10 runs per game.

"At one point in the fall we (the coaches) were sitting down and talking and we go, 'She might be our best player overall, when it comes to everything she does,'" said Yegge. "That's why she's the leadoff hitter. She's a tough out."



No. 8 Eagles sweep Northeast CC

NORFOLK, Neb. - The eighth-ranked Kirkwood Eagles got strong pitching Sunday and swept their conference doubleheader from Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb.

Hunter Lee tossed a four-hitter with 12 strikeouts as the Eagles defeated Northeast, 5-1, in the first game.

Cameron Leff pitched six strong innings in an 11-1 triumph in the nightcap, allowing one run on four hits with eight strikeouts.

Lee and Leff raised their records to 6-1.

Ellison Hanna hit a home run and drove in three runs for Kirkwood in the first game. Izaya Fullard also had an RBI for the Eagles.



Halvorson tosses shutout for Eagles

Natalie Halvorson had to get healthy before she could become a successful pitcher for the Kirkwood Eagles this season.

It took a long time.

"It probably took about four months for me to feel better," she said Saturday afternoon.

Halvorson began feeling weak last fall. Climbing two flights of stairs was difficult. She spent a few days in the hospital and missed three or four days of school.

Halvorson was reluctant to reveal the diagnosis, but she did not need an operation. Medication finally solved the problem.

She feels fine now, but it was an ordeal.

"It was physically draining," she said. "It was tough to come back from it, mentally and physically."

Halvorson said she felt normal again in February, just in time for the 2018 college softball season to begin. Very little has held her back since.



Morrison, Eagles rule Blue Boy golf

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Ryan Morrison and the Kirkwood Eagles captured top honors at the Blue Boy Invitational at The Rail Golf Course Saturday.

Morrison won the individual title at 5-under-par 139 with rounds of 69 and 70, helped Kirkwood grab the gold by eight shots over Nebraska Wesleyan.

Morrison, a freshman from the United Kingdom, won his first collegiate golf title.



Kirkwood golfers leads Blue Boy Invitational

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Kirkwood Eagles took a 10-shot lead Friday after the first round of the Blue Boy Invitational at The Rail Golf Course in Springfield, Ill.

The Eagles finished the first 18 holes with a four-man score of 287, good for a 10-shot margin over Nebraska Wesleyan.

Ryan Morrison of Kirkwood fired a 69 and is tied for first place entering the final round on Saturday. Niall Powell and Will Babcock of Kirkwood are tied for third at 72.



Filip joins KCC women's basketball team

Justice Filip, a point guard who was one of the top 3-point shooters in Wisconsin this season, has committed to join the Kirkwood women's basketball program.

Filip, 5-foot-7, averaged 16.2 points and 3.6 assists at Madison East High School this year. She made 53.2 percent of her field goals and 87 percent of her free throws.

Filip was invited to participate in an elite 3-point shooting contest  in Wisconsin as a junior and senior. She also was named first team all-conference as a senior.

Filip is the ninth high school senior to commit to Kirkwood this spring. She picked the Eagles over Black Hills State, an NCAA Division II school, and Lincoln Trail College, an NJCAA Division I program.


KCC baseball team spins 1-hitter

CENTERVILLE - Jake McLaughlin, Trey Cowley and Kirby Kerr combined on a one-hitter Thursday as the Kirkwood Eagles blanked Indian Hills, 4-0, in the first game of a non-conference doubleheader in Centerville.

Indian Hills won the second game, 10-2.

McLaughlin (1-0) pitched the first four innings for the Eagles. He did not allow any hits, with four strikeouts and three walks.

Cowley tossed 1 2/3 innings and allowed the only hit, with two strikeouts and a walk. Kerr, who began the game in right field, pitched the final 1 1/3 innings and was credited with a save. Kerr struck out three batters and walked two.

The eighth-ranked Eagles scored all four of their runs in the opener in the second inning. Kerr, who was 2-for-3 as a hitter, drove in two runs in the inning. Korry Howell also had an RBI.



Muhl signs 8 for KCC women's hoops

Kirkwood women's basketball coach Kim Muhl has kept busy ever since the Eagles finished second at the NJCAA Division II national tournament this year.

Muhl has signed eight new high school players to replenish his roster for the 2018-19 campaign.

Five of the new players are from Iowa. They include Jayla Johnson from Cedar Rapids Washington, Ashley Tull from North Linn, Addison Rath from Mid-Prairie, Paige Bradford from Davenport North and Amara Lipsey of Ames.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 April 2018 04:55



Thedford joining KCC men's basketball

The Kirkwood Eagles have dipped into their pipeline to Des Moines Hoover to land Devonte' Thedford, a 6-foot-1 guard who averaged 15.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists for Hoover this past season.

Thedford is the third Hoover grad in three years to join the Kirkwood men's basketball program. He follows Chris King, a 6-foot-1 guard who led Kirkwood in scoring this season as a sophomore, and Doug Wilson, a 6-foot-7 forward who was named a junior college All-American this year as a freshman for the Eagles.

Thedford played with King and Wilson at Des Moines Hoover when he was a freshman in high school. The Huskies finished with a 21-1 record that season.



Frustrating day for Kirkwood baseball

The Kirkwood Eagles suffered a heap of frustration, one stinging defeat and an agonizing tie during a long day at the ballpark Tuesday.

The eighth-ranked Eagles dropped the first game of their doubleheader against NIACC, 8-3, when the Kirkwood pitchers issued 11 walks and the Kirkwood batters struck out 14 times in seven innings.

The Eagles then had to settle for a 1-1 tie with NIACC in a game that lasted 11 innings and ended in darkness at 8 p.m. The Eagles squandered numerous chances, leaving the bases loaded in the 9th, 10th and 11th innings and stranding 18 runners.

"We had chances," said Kirkwood Coach Todd Rima.

The first game took three hours. The second game lasted 3 1/2 hours and settled nothing. And when it was all over, the Eagles had dropped out of first place in the ICCAC standings and fallen a half-game behind Southeastern.

"Game 1 they were better than us," said Rima. "I didn't think we pitched it very well. We didn't play as well defensively as we had (with four errors). We gave them too many free bases, and you can't do that against good teams in our league.



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