Thursday, October 18, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Clark injured as No. 10 Eagles split

Cal Clark looked like he'd just fought 15 rounds with Rocky Balboa Wednesday afternoon, but the Kirkwood second baseman vowed to play baseball again this season after suffering six fractured bones in his face after being hit by a pitch against Indian Hills.

The accident happened in the first game of the doubleheader at Kirkwood when Clark was hit by an inside fastball that caught part of his batting helmet and part of the left side of his face.

He stayed at the ballpark for awhile after being treated by the Kirkwood trainer, but then went to the hospital with his mother and returned to the park a few hours later.

Clark's left eye was black-and-blue and completely shut due to the injury. The left side of his face was swollen and he was still trying to staunch a bloody nose.

He appeared to be in good spirits, everything considered, and was embraced by his worried teammates upon his return to the field.

Kirkwood split the twinbill with Indian Hills, winning the second game 6-1 after dropping the opener 6-4.

"I feel OK," he insisted. "It's obviously pretty sore, but it will go away soon.



KCC softball blanked by No. 1 DMACC

BOONE - The Kirkwood Eagles have one of the best-hitting teams in junior college softball, but their offense disappeared in a pair of games against top-ranked DMACC Wednesday.

The fifth-ranked Eagles were blanked by the Bears in a pair of ICCAC conference games, 8-0 in five innings and 6-0.

Kirkwood did not get any hits in the first game. Monika Bevans led the Eagles with two hits in the second game.

DMACC is now on the verge of clinching the conference title at 36-0 overall and 18-0 in the league. Kirkwood fell to 40-8 overall and 15-5 in the conference.

The Bears won all four of their regular-season games against Kirkwood this season.



Kaste sparks Eagles past Indian Hills

Miranda Kaste waited three years to enjoy a day like this for the Kirkwood softball team.

Kaste sparkled as a relief pitcher and then drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth inning to help the Eagles trim Indian Hills, 4-3, in the first game of their non-conference doubleheader Tuesday at Kirkwood.

Kirkwood exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to win the second game, 9-1.

Kaste enrolled at Kirkwood in 2015 as a middle infielder, but she broke her left leg in practice that fall and did not recover in time to play during the 2016 campaign.

She had a metal plate and screws removed from her leg during the summer of 2016, but developed a stress fracture in the leg and had to watch the entire 2017 season come and go as well.

Finally healthy this year, Kaste has been a key utility player for the Eagles as an infielder and emergency relief pitcher after several other pitchers left the program.

Tuesday was her day to shine.



Clark stars as Eagles sweep Northeast

NORFOLK, Neb. - Cal Clark hit a grand slam and drove in nine runs  Monday as the eighth-ranked Kirkwood Eagles swept a conference  doubleheader from Northeast Community College, 12-1 and 7-4.

The first game was stopped after five innings due to the college mercy rule.

Clark, a second baseman from Cedar Rapids Prairie, went 3-for-3 with a  double, grand slam and seven RBIs in the first game and collected two  more RBIs in the second game.

Ellison Hanna went 3-for-4 with a double, home run, two RBIs and three  runs in the opener. Izaya Fullard also went 3-for-4 with a double and  scored twice. Spencer Wiskus and Ross Kramer scored twice.

Peyton (1-1) pitched a complete game in the opener for his first  victory of the season. He allowed only two hits and one unearned run  in the 12-1 triumph, with nine strikeouts and no walks.

Taylor Jackson, Fullard and Wiskus had two hits in the 7-4 victory in  the second game. Korry Howell, Fullard and Wiskus scored twice.  Jackson hit a triple.



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.


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