State Baseball: Kennedy Rolls Past Linn-Mar, 13-1

By Jeff Johnson, Reporter

Josh Jahlas of Cedar Rapids Kennedy is congratulated by teammates as he heads into the dugout after scoring a run during a Class 3A quarterfinal of the State Baseball Tournament against Linn_Mar at Principal Park in Des Moines on Wednesday, July 25, 2012. (Cliff Jette/KCRG TV9)

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By Grant Burkhardt

DES MOINES — The re, re, rematch was a mis, mis, mismatch.

“This was as solid a game as we’ve played all year,” Cedar Rapids Kennedy coach Bret Hoyer said after his club’s 13-1 rub out of Linn-Mar Wednesday night at the state tournament.

You couldn’t argue. The Cougars had tight defense, good pitching and great at-bats, particularly late, to win the fourth game this season between the Mississippi Valley Conference rivals.

This was believed to be the second time Metro schools have opposed each other at state. Hoyer and Kennedy were on the losing end in 2000 against Cedar Rapids Washington, but not this time.

The Cougars (33-6) play West Des Moines Dowling/Fort Dodge in an 8 p.m. Class 4A semifinal Friday at Principal Park.

“We’ve still got work to do,” said winning pitcher Alex Hayden. “That’s been our goal — to get to state and win it, obviously. We’ve got two more.”

Curiously, aces Hayden and Linn-Mar’s Jake Stolley never faced their opposition in the three regular-season games. They dualed well here, at least through three innings.

Logan Ambrosy walked with one out in the Kennedy fourth and came around to score after Devon Jacobus lined a single to right and the ball got under the glove of Linn-Mar right fielder Mitch Stickney for a two-base error. Jacobus scored on Hayden’s ensuing single up the middle.

“I thought we were playing well,” Stolley said. “That’s where we wanted to be at that point. It just got out of hand.”

Kennedy chased Stolley in the fifth with three more runs, every one scoring with two outs. The Cougars added three in the sixth and five in the seventh for an unexpected blowout.

“We’ve faced their pitchers quite a bit, so we knew what was coming,” said Kennedy’s Cody Bell, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. “We were able to hit them pretty well tonight.”

Kennedy finished with 11 hits and was the recipient of 10 walks from three Linn-Mar pitchers.

“They have a good eye at the plate,” Linn-Mar coach Chad Lechner said. “If I could tell you why, it wouldn’t have happened. That’s one of those things you hope doesn’t happen to you, and when it does, there’s not a whole lot you can do. You’ve got to make a team like Kennedy earn their baserunners. When you don’t, most of the time they’re going to make you pay.”

They sure did this time. Linn-Mar (29-12) avoided the shutout with a run in the sixth, brought home on a Jimmy Roth RBI single. He’s part of a junior group that’s large in talent and numbers and promises to give the Lions a terrific ballclub in 2013.

“Really happy for our five seniors,” Lechner said. “They were very deserving of having the chance to play in this environment. We’ve got a lot of juniors that are good players, and this is something that will help them set goals for themselves for next year.”

Goals like Kennedy still has alive.

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