Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor
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Metro Sports Report

Pitching carries Walford to sweep

WALFORD - Fans of well-pitched, low-scoring baseball games saw a pair of gems on Sunday in the Iowa Valley League twinbill between Walford and Red Top.

And when the dust settled on a steamy day at the Walford Ball Diamond, the host Hogs came away with a sweep in what is becoming a battle between all six league teams for the championship.

The sweep lifted the Hogs to 4-4 through four weeks of IVL play while Red Top fell to 3-5.

In the opener, Ross Swinton and Mitch Moser combined on a two-hitter as Walford escaped with a 1-0 victory.

The nightcap saw Moser start and go five innings. He was relieved in the final two innings by former Linn-Mar standout Manny Jeffery as the Hogs got a pair of unearned runs in the fifth inning to post a 3-1 triumph.

"We were kind of low on pitching today," said Moser, who got the save in the opener and the win in Game 2. "Swinton threw five strong innings and then I came in and closed it out.

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IWSL softball teams beat the heat

The five teams in the Iowa Women's Softball League battled each other and battled the heat Sunday with some interesting results.

Three of the five games were shortened to five innings with the temperature in the mid-90's and another game ended in a scoreless tie.

Ironside Apparel and Hawkeye Convenience Stores battled to a 0-0  deadlock in the first game at Mount Mercy, with both sides flashing  some stellar pitching and defense.

Hawkeye Convenience Stores blanked Emil's Hideaway, 8-0, in the middle game. And Emil's Hideaway turned around and topped Ironside Apparel,  7-1.

Metro Sports Report swept its doubleheader from Bosch Financial, 2-1  and 12-6, at Simpson College in Indianola.

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3-way logjam in IVL standings

Williamsburg, Norway and the Stars are all tied for first place in the Iowa Valley League with 5-3 records after four weeks of the 2018 regular season.

Walford is just another game back at 4-4, followed by Red Top at 3-5 and Watkins at 2-6 in the compact standings.

The Stars swept Watkins on Sunday. Walford swept Red Top, while Norway and Williamsburg split their twinbill.

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Jansen becomes ace of Williamsburg staff

Tanner Jansen spent the last two summers trying to juggle two sports.

It's tough enough trying to play both baseball and football in college, but Jansen's plight was even more difficult. He was splitting time at Simpson College, working on his quarterback skills for football while trying to pitch when he could in the Iowa Valley League for Williamsburg.

As a sophomore last fall at Simpson, Jansen appeared in eight football games for the Storm, completing 5 of 16 passes for 59 yards and rushing for 131 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries.

In the spring, he had a 2-4 pitching record with a 4.83 earned run average.

This summer, Jansen decided to devote all his attention to baseball.

"It was a little tough being a two-sport athlete," he said. "It got to the point where I was getting to the latter half of my college career and I figured it was best to go after baseball and attack it on the diamond."

He was only able to pitch on a spot basis last year for Williamsburg due to his football commitments. With his football career behind him, Jansen's mound career has taken off in the first three weeks of IVL play.

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Williamsburg matches 2017 win total

Starting a season with a 4-2 record doesn't usually generate much talk.

After splitting Sunday's Iowa Valley League doubleheader with the defending league champion Stars, Williamsburg manager Lloyd Brockshus quipped: "This is great, we've already matched the number of games we won all last season."

The Red Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings, then rode the strong pitching of Tanner Jansen and reliever Dustin Meirotto, to hold on for a 3-2 victory in the opener at Mount Mercy's Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex on Sunday.

A four-run fourth-inning outburst allowed the Stars (3-3) to rally for a 5-2 victory in the nightcap.

Williamsburg has been the surprise team over the first three weeks. After finishing just 4-16 last summer in the IVL, an influx of new players, combined with a few returning standouts have the Red Sox playing winning baseball in 2018.

"On some of the past teams we didn't have as much competitiveness," said Cam Frazier, a Cedar Rapids Jefferson grad now playing at Coe. "This year we brought in a lot of (NCAA Division III) talent. We've had a lot of Simpson players step up for us big-time."

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