Friday, August 01, 2014
THURSDAY'S SCOREBOARD - MWL - Burlington at Kernels
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor
jim.ecker@metrosportsreport.com
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Metro Sports Report

Cougars foiled by SE Polk at state

DES MOINES - It was the type of game Kennedy baseball teams have won dozens of times over the years under Bret Hoyer.

Tense, low-scoring, dramatic.

This time, the Southeast Polk Rams managed a slight edge and tripped the third-ranked Cougars, 1-0, in the opening round of the Class 4A state tournament at Principal Park in Des Moines.

Southeast Polk (30-13) will face Dubuque Hempstead (37-5) in the semifinals Friday. Johnston (23-16) will play Iowa City West (33-9) in the other semifinal.

Kennedy, which finished ahead of Hempstead and Iowa City West as the Mississippi Valley Conference champs, fell short and finished 31-7.

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Kernels climb into tie for 1st place

It has been a long road back to the top for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, but when they topped Burlington, 3-2, in 11-inning walk-off fashion on Wednesday night, they pulled into a tie atop the Midwest League’s Western Division standings.

The Kernels rode their way to the top on the shoulders of second baseman Ryan Walker.

Walker had three hits in six at-bats and all three Cedar Rapids RBIs, including the game-winner in the 11th inning when he drove in Max Murphy and sent 2,424 fans home happy from Veterans Memorial Stadium.

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10 Metro girls make all-state softball

Ten players from the Metro area have been named to the all-state softball teams by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association.

Katie Sommer of Linn-Mar and Maddie Hansen of Jefferson were named first team all-state in Class 5A.

Alyssa Olson of Jefferson, Gabi Carter of Prairie, Ashley Hamilton of Kennedy and Bria Lenten of Washington were named second team in Class 5A.

Tianna Drahn of Kennedy and Jessi Puk of Washington were selected for the third team in 5A.

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Pitching lifts Kernels into playoff race

In mid-June, after a disappointing first half to their Midwest League season, the Cedar Rapids Kernels limped into the MWL’s All-Star break with a 31-39 record, not only 14 games behind Western Division leader Kane County but also 7.5 games behind the second place Burlington Bees.

The latter is important because, in the world of Class A minor league baseball, seasons are split into two halves, with the first and second place teams in each division, each half-season, earning berths in the postseason playoff series.

Kane County and Burlington snatched the MWL West spots in the first half, leaving Cedar Rapids, Quad Cities, Clinton, Beloit, Peoria and Wisconsin to slug it out in the second half for two more spots, with each team starting with fresh 0-0 records June 19.

With Peoria, Wisconsin and Quad Cities all assembling winning records in the first half, it was logical to assume that those three teams would contend for the Western Division’s two second-half playoff spots – and they have been doing just that.

Entering Wednesday, Peoria and Quad Cities were tied for second place in the Division’s second-half standings, trailing Kane County by just one game, and Wisconsin is two games back.

Clinton and Beloit have repeated their first-half fortunes, each at least 11 games under .500 and filling the final two spots in the standings, as they did in the first half.

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DiMaggio's cousin gives Kernels a boost

You don't find too many New York Yankees fans out in California, but Kernels relief pitcher Chris Mazza had a good reason for cheering for the Bronx Bombers when he was growing up.

The famous DiMaggio brothers - Joe, Dom and Vince - are his third cousins and he actually met Joe DiMaggio when he was a little kid.

"My great grandmother is a DiMaggio," Mazza related Tuesday night after helping the Kernels trim Burlington, 6-2. "I kind of grew up a Yankees fan my whole life."

Mazza, from Clayton, Calif., tossed 1.1 scoreless innings for Cedar Rapids Tuesday before 2,440 fans at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

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