Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – City High hadn’t exactly struggled over the first few weeks of the season.
The Little Hawks also weren’t really sharp during a solid but not spectacular start that featured five one-run losses.
City High believes it found the spark it was searching for on Monday.
Class 4A ninth-ranked City High got back-to-back impressive outings from starting pitchers Max Waldschmidt and Talon Young and hammered 16 hits in a 6-2, 8-1 doubleheader sweep of 4A fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy (14-5) at Mercer Park in Iowa City.
“This is definitely a confidence builder for us,” Waldschmidt said. “We’ve had some ups and downs but I think this can spark something big.”
Waldschmidt tossed 5 2/3 strong innings in the opener and Young followed by holding the Cougars scoreless for the final five innings of his own stellar start in the nightcap as City High improved to 12-7 on the season.
City High has now won five of its last six games dating back to the second game of a doubleheader with Linn-Mar on May 30.
“Winning is the expectation and we had a couple of rough outings where we were not very good and the one-run games that we’ve lost we were not very good in my estimation so it was not where we wanted to be,” City High coach Brian Mitchell said. “The second game at Linn-Mar and into Western Dubuque we started playing the way we want to play.”
City High got going early in the opener with a four-run second inning that set the tone for the night.
Alex Knudtson started the four-run second with a walk and Jake Mitchell and Carsen Newton had singles around a triple by ninth place hitter Dominic Salibi.
“Our offensive mentality in just being aggressive and playing fast and being fearless carried over to the whole night,” Mitchell said. “We had that one inning where things clicked and that was special and that carried over in my opinion.”
The early offense was enough for Waldschmidt who allowed just one hit while striking out four and walking three.
A junior right-hander, Waldschmidt improved to 3-0 on the season with the win.
“Everything was working,” Waldschmidt said. “My changeup was definitely my best pitch but my slider was working good and then I had them off balance with the fastball all game. I just feel like everything was working all game.”
Young was equally effective in the nightcap allowing six hits, all singles, and one earned run while striking out three and walking two.
The sophomore right-hander improved to 2-0 on the season.
“We’ve had five or six one-run losses so I think we are finally ready to start winning those close games,” Young said. “I think this was another momentum boost and we are starting to swing the bats a lot better.”
After striking out leadoff hitter Colby Dolphin to open the game Young allowed four consecutive singles.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy had the bases loaded with one out and a 1-0 lead but Young got back-to-back pop ups on the infield to escape the jam.
“I stuck to my pitches, I trust all my pitches,” Young said. “I can throw every pitch for a strike and they were just kind of hitting it where my defenders weren’t so I wasn’t too upset. I was throwing strikes I just had to keep trusting my defense and pounding the zone.”
City High responded with a run in the bottom of the inning as DJ Hodges doubled to right field and scored on a Drew Carlson RBI single that evened the score at 1-1.
The Little Hawks added a run in the second and three in the third, the big blow a two-RBI triple to right center by Sam Kueter.
“Hopefully this gives us confidence,” Young said. “Our team has been up and down, confidence has been high and confidence has been low so hopefully we can find that middle where we just keep playing good ball and playing complete games.”
CR Kennedy 000 100 1 – 2 3 2
City High 040 020 x – 6 6 3
W – Max Waldschmidt L – Rowan Donels SV – Owen Hicks
2B – CRK: Grant Mather, Jace Scott.
3B – ICH: Dominic Salibi
CR Kennedy 100 000 0 – 1 7 3
City High 113 120 x – 8 10 0
W – Talon Young L – Owen Hutchison
2B – ICH: DJ Hodges
3B – ICH: Sam Kueter, Jaxton Schroeder