CEDAR RAPIDS — A spectator made the observation early and accurately:
“This doesn’t seem like Jeff/Linn-Mar.”
Class 4A third-ranked Cedar Rapids Jefferson struck for 22 hits and dominated rebuilding Linn-Mar, 4-0 and 11-1, in a Mississippi Valley Conference softball double-header Thursday night at the Jefferson Softball Complex.
The first game was kind of tense,” said Alex Jacobson, who had three of the J-Hawks’ 14 hits — including a home run — in the six-inning nightcap. “We knew we had to relax and wait for a good pitch to hit.”
For the last 15 years, this has been the premier softball matchup in the Metro.
Not this year. There wasn’t a big crowd. And there wasn’t much suspense of which team was superior.
Jefferson (16-3 overall, 13-3 MVC) extended its winning streak to 14 games. Linn-Mar (6-16, 2-12), meanwhile, returns only one starter (Leah Beck) from a team that advanced to the state tournament last year.
“We knew coming in that we were going to struggle at times,” said Linn-Mar Coach Jon Harms. “We lost so much in every category. The struggle has been greater than expected.”
The J-Hawks nickel-and-dimed their way to four runs in the opener, scoring single tallies in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. Four different girls scored, and four different girls delivered RBI hits.
In the second game, Jefferson broke open a 1-1 game with two runs in the third, four in the fourth, then a pair each in the fifth and sixth,
Hannah Petersen drove in three runs; Kasey Yoder was 3-for-3.
“We hit the ball tonight. And if we hit the ball, we’re a pretty good team,” said Jefferson Coach Larry Niemeyer, who crept within 26 victories of the 2,000-win plateau.
“We’re on a little bit of a win streak. Our pitchers are throwing well, and our defense will get a lot better by the end of the season.
“Kasey Yoder has been a big surprise. She’s getting some key hits and she’s playing a great first base.”
Petersen pitched a 10-strikeout one-hitter in the opener; Katie Naber scattered four hits in Game 2.
Jefferson, which enjoys a comfortable lead in the MVC Valley Division, travels to Cedar Rapids Xavier on Tuesday in a key league twinbill.