Archive for July, 2008

First taste of fall

July 30, 2008

The race is over.

The first fall sports questionnaire is in. The speediest response: Kurt Kreiter, football coach at DeWitt Central.


Niemeyer number: 42 to go

July 19, 2008

If Larry Niemeyer is going to reach the 2,000-win mark, it’s probably going to come early in the 2010 season.

He needs 42 more victories. And with the regular-season reduction to 40 games, that probably means the J-Hawks will have to go 37-3 in the regular season, win two regional games (they’ll undoubtedly have a quarterfinal bye) and win three at state to get there in 2009.

Doable, but difficult. The more likely time would be the first week of the 2010 season.

A warrior, a savior, a hero

July 19, 2008

Both of the Class 4A state softball quarterfinals that contained Metro teams will be remembered for a long, long time.

Jaye Hutcheson of Linn-Mar was a warrior. With an arm that burned and fingers that were numb, Hutcheson threw strikeouts in the Lions’ 13-inning 2-1 loss to top-ranked West Des Moines Valley. Lions Coach Jon Harms gave her the option of coming out as early as the fifth ininng. Harms knew — we all knew — that she would refuse. You’ll never find a tougher kid, regardless of gender.

Morgan Allee of Jefferson was a savior. The J-Hawks were down to their final out against Lewis Central. They were two strikes away from elimination. But Allee laced a pitch up the middle to extend the game.

Then Alex Jacobson was the hero. After Allee’s single tied the game, the Titans intentionally walked Amanda Burger. Jacobson saw one pitch, and sent it over the center field fence. The last grand slam, by Ottumwa in 1992, broke Jefferson’s hearts. This one sent the J-Hawks into the semifinals. They laid a proverbial egg against Sioux City North, yes. But they’ll always have moment from Friday.

Lip lock

July 17, 2008

The Cedar Rapids Jefferson J-Hawks marched into the Rogers Sports Complex Wednesday wearing lime-green state-qualifying T-shirts. On the backs of the shirts were giant pairs of lips, Bubble Yum-pink in color.

All of the girls wore them. Assistants Natalie and Nick Niemeyer wore them. Not Larry Niemeyer though.

“I’m not a T-shirt sort of guy,” he said.

The sight of Niemeyer with a giant pair of lips on his back. Would’ve been priceless.

Suggestion on consies

July 17, 2008

Re to K.J.’s post:

How’s this for an alternative … switch from eight qualifying teams in each class to six. Seed the teams, giving the top two a bye. Then make each class a double-elimination tournament. 

Everybody gets at least two games, and they all matter.

Food for thought for the new executive director.

Week 1: Which way do we go?

July 16, 2008

So I’m sitting here, half-bored and all-hot during consolation play at the state softball tournament. The mind drifts to Week 1 of the football season, 44 days away.

It’s an unspoken tradition that we cover Mount Vernon and Solon in the opener (they meet in Mount Vernon this year). Is that the best call again? Thoughts?

Here are options:

Anamosa at Monticello

Beckman at Western Dubuque

Benton Community at Center Point-Urbana

West Branch at Tipton

Williamsburg at Mid-Prairie

Love the lids

July 16, 2008

The state softball tournament is always a place for fashion statements. Some are good. Some, not so much.

The white batting helmets? Thumbs-up, emphatically.

Highland showed up with white helmets and red trim. Martensdale-St. Marys: White helmets and royal blue trim. Fremont-Mills: White helmets, black trim.

Winners all.

Not exactly a full house

July 16, 2008

Parents, grandparents and boyfriends.

That’s the extent of the crowds at the consolation games at the state softball tournament. Turkey Valley is facing Pleasantville in a 2A consy. Estimated crowd? Maybe 100.

The Girls Union isn’t opposed to dumping consolation games (they have to be a money drain). But the coaches refuse to pull the plug.

Question is, how many of the coaches enjoy battling for seventh place at 10 in the morning?

#1 vs. #1, twice

July 11, 2008

I don’t know the date of the 2008-09 Rivalry Saturday girls’ basketball shindig. I do know that two of the games ought to be terrific.

Tournament director Scot Moenck has indicated that two of the matchups will be Springville vs. MFL MarMac and Ballard vs. Linn-Mar.

If that’s the case, it will be 1A Preseason #1 vs. 2A #1 and 3A #1 vs. 4A #1. Can’t get a better draw than that.

A resume on all four:

SPRINGVILLE (25-3): Everybody is back from the 1A state championship team. Really. Everybody. Five starters. Every reserve. I’m doubting Brian O’Donnell will allow much ego inflation.

MFL MAR MAC (27-1): Advanced to the 2A final before running into the buzzsaw called Davenport Assumption. Returns just about everything.

BALLARD (23-3): Amanda Zimmerman and Ally Jensen fuel the Bombers. This team has a reputation for gagging at state. This game is at U.S. Cellular, not Wells Fargo, and Ballard took Cedar Rapids Washington apart as Rivalry Saturday ’08.

LINN-MAR (22-3): Jaime Printy. Kiah Stokes. Kayla Klopfenstein. D.J. Norman. And, if that’s not enough talent, here comes a sophomore team that went 20-1.

A partial White-out

July 10, 2008

The last time Clear Creek-Amana missed the state softball tournament in consecutive seasons? It was a three-year drought from 1993 to 1995.

Now, the Clippers are sitting home for the second straight year. Davenport Assumption shocked them in the regional finals in back-to-back years.

So Jim White is out. Erin White will be in or out by 9 tonight. If won’t be a happy home if Durant beats Solon.

By the way, notice how I hyphenated Clear Creek-Amana. It’s my party, and I’ll punctuate if I want to.