Your Prep Sports
NORTH LIBERTY – After watching teammate Boyd Skelley spin a shutout in the opening game of a doubleheader with crosstown rival City High on Monday Hayden Vickroy wasn’t even thinking of outdueling his classmate in game two.
Instead Vickroy was just trying to keep pace with Skelley.
“He put the expectations real high that’s for sure,” Vickroy said. “I was just trying to follow along.”
Vickroy did that and then some.
Skelley spun a six-hit shutout in a 3-0 win in the opener and Vickroy allowed just three hits in a 2-0 win in the nightcap as Liberty High (8-8, 5-7) swept Class 4A third-ranked City High (13-5, 8-4) in a Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division doubleheader in North Liberty.
“If you give up no runs you have a great chance to win and I tell you what our pitchers did a great job,” Liberty High coach Tom Cronk said. “Those two guys were really filling up the zone tonight and we made plays behind them.”
The sweep was the first of the season for Liberty High which had split three MVC doubleheaders and was swept by Cedar Rapids Xavier and Cedar Falls in its two previous doubleheader against ranked teams.
“I knew there was a going to be a day coming up where we put it all together but honestly I didn’t think it was going to be against this team since they are ranked third and we have a losing record coming in,” Skelley said. “It was really fun to come out in a rivalry game and get two wins.”
Skelley was stellar in the opening allowing six hits and two walks while striking out six in a complete game.
The senior right-hander needed 89 pitches to navigate the full seven innings.
“Tonight, I really enjoyed throwing the first-pitch breaking ball and I had them off balance right away,” Skelley said. “To be able to do that and alternate my pitches confidently really helped.”
The Liberty High defense came up big early in the opener.
Carter Seaton tripled with one out in the top of the first inning but was cut down at the plate by Liberty High left fielder Evan Chandler while attempting to tag up on a Gable Mitchell fly ball.
Liberty High could muster just three hits off City High ace Cade Obermueller but got a pair of runs in the third capped by a two-out RBI single by number eight hitter Noah Kirk.
The Lightning added an insurance run in the sixth when Jack Funke ripped a two-out double to right center and later scored on a bases loaded walk to Jackson Khamphilanouvong.
“Today we played 14 innings of really good pitching and really solid defense and we were lucky to scratch a couple runs across,” Cronk said. “They are really, really dang good, they have big arm after big arm and they are missing a couple of guys out of the lineup which helps but they are a forced to be reckoned with and we just played really well tonight.”
City High put two on with two out in the bottom of the seventh on singles by Ben Kueter and Joey Bouska but Chandler made a sliding catch of a Carter Seaton sinking line drive in left field to end the game.
“They had some well-hit balls but our outfielders really made plays,” Skelley said. “They made some great reads, a lot of those plays they made look easy tonight.”
Vickroy more than matched the performance by Skelley in the opener with his own gem in the nightcap.
The senior allowed just three hits and walked one while striking out four.
Vickroy threw just 79 pitches in the seven-inning complete game.
“Getting that first pitch strike was the big thing,” Vickroy said. “Getting ground balls and fly balls on that first pitch and then moving the ball around and spotting all my pitches.”
Liberty High got all the run support Vickroy would need in the third.
Khamphilanouvong and Skelley led off the inning with back-to-back singles.
Ninth-place hitter Jack Turgason plated Khamphilanouvong with a single and Skelley scored on a sacrifice bunt by Luke Meyers.
“We’ve had a roller coaster season, we’ve been up and down, we play good one game and can’t figure it out the next game and we really put it all together pitching, hitting, running the bases and the defense played awesome behind us,” Vickroy said. “That’s why we won, pitching does it but it’s the defense that won it for us.”
City High 000 000 0 – 0 6 1
Liberty High 020 001 x – 3 3 1
W – Boyd Skelley L – Cade Obermueller
2B – ICL: Jack Funke
3B – ICH: Carter Seaton
City High 000 000 0 – 0 3 0
Liberty High 020 000 x – 2 8 0
W – Hayden Vickroy L – Talon Young
2B – ICL: Evan Chandler