Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – The top-ten doubleheader between City High and Cedar Rapids Kennedy billed as a battle of two of Eastern Iowa’s best lived up to the hype on Thursday.
Fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy (13-3, 12-2) edged seventh-ranked City High 4-3 in an 11-inning, weather-delayed opener before the Little Hawks pounded out an 11-0 five-inning win in the nightcap as the two perennial powers split a Mississippi Valley Conference double dip at City High.
“Every time we play them we know it is going to be a battle,” City High senior Ella Cook said. “They bring good pitching, they bring good hitters and that’s what we try to do too. They throw a punch, we throw a punch. I think it’s pretty evenly matched and we expect it to be a fight every time.”
Thursday marked the second consecutive regular season split between the two powerhouses with Kennedy holding a 4-3 edge games between the teams since 2019.
All four Cougar wins during that stretch have come by one run, all three City High wins by eight or more.
On Thursday the series stayed true to form.
“Every time we’ve played them it’s 2-1, 2-1, 2-1, 4-3,” City High coach Jeff Koenig said. “We’ve had a couple of second games we’ve scored a lot of runs against them like tonight but for the most part it has been dead even.”
The opener was as even as even, as entertaining and as interesting a game as you will find.
A pitchers duel between Cook and Kennedy senior Jayme Scheck, the opener featured a nearly 40-minute delay for lightning and was twice extended by solo home runs.
Cook was brilliant in the circle for City High (9-5, 8-4), striking out a career-high 21 while allowing just four runs on six hits.
“I was just really trying to attack hitters,” Cook said. “I knew they had good hitters but I was confident in my stuff so I was trying to go right at them and for the most part it worked. I had a couple of slip ups but for the most part it worked pretty well.”
Kennedy was down to its final strike in the seventh inning, trailing 2-1 when Topanga Beauregard hit a solo home run to left field to tie the game at 2.
The Cougars took their first lead when Mya Dodge led off the ninth inning with a solo shot to right field that made it 3-2.
City High responded when Cook launched a towering home run to deep left center leading off the bottom of the inning to pull the Little Hawks even at 3-3.
“I went up there and I was trying to hit a ball hard,” Cook said. “I had gotten out two times before that but I felt good about my at bats so I was looking for a pitch I could drive. I hit one foul and I just had to sit a little longer and I did and it felt nice.”
With two outs in the bottom of the 10th the game was delayed by lightning.
No rain fell but a passing storm cell caused the game to be put on hold for 40 minutes.
Kennedy scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the 11th when Sidney Osborn drew a bases loaded walk off Cook.
“She wanted the ball and she wanted to keep going out there,” Koenig said. “For us that’s huge for her to want to be that bulldog and go out there and win those games. She put in a ton of effort in the offseason.”
City High loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning but Sheck got Makayla Ribble to ground into a force out to third and struck out Elyse Rios swinging to end it.
The Little Hawks had four hits off Scheck in their third one-run loss of the season.
“We’ve played 14 games now and we’ve seen a lot of good pitching and our hitters are still trying to get comfortable but our pitchers are dealing and our defense is play well so if our hitters get a little more comfortable that’s our missing piece,” Koenig said. “We are just one hit away from Liberty, we were one hit way tonight, one hit away against Assumption. We have three or four more hits we might not have a loss and I’m good with that because I know our hitters will come around.”
City High scored seven runs in the first inning of the nightcap on its way to a 11-0 win.
Senior Mia McDonald had a two-run single in the seven-run first and Ribble had a two-run double in the second as City High had nine hits in the nightcap.
Ayana Lindsey earned the win in the circle in game two, striking out six in a five-inning one-hit shutout.
“Coach just told us we had to bounce back, that game was over and we couldn’t do anything about it,” Cook said. “He also told us not to hang our heads, we fought and there are things we need to work on but there are a lot of positives to take from that game.”
CR Kennedy 000 100 101 01 – 4 6 2
City High 200 000 001 00 – 3 4 1
W – Jayme Scheck L – Ella Cook
HR – ICH: Ella Cook. CRK: Topanga Beauregard
CR Kennedy 000 00 – 0 1 6
City High 722 0x – 11 9 0
W – Ayana Lindsey L – Riana Ortega
2B – ICH: Makayla Ribble, Carey Koenig