CEDAR RAPIDS — A second straight laugher had evolved into something completely different, and Hannah Petersen heard her coach’s inquiry:
“Pete, you ready?”
“I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t expecting to go back in. But I’m not going to say no.”
Petersen came in and shut the door on a late rally as Class 5A seventh-ranked Cedar Rapids Jefferson concluded a Mississippi Valley Conference softball sweep of Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 8-5, Thursday night at the Jefferson Softball Complex.
The J-Hawks barreled through the first game, 18-0, in three innings.
Jefferson (27-3 overall, 19-1 MVC) has won 18 straight league games and extended its Valley Division lead to two games over Iowa City West, which split a twinbill with Dubuque Senior on Thursday.
“Winning the conference isn’t as important as getting back to state,” Petersen said. “But we like to win, period.”
Jefferson simply obliterated the Cougars (7-20, 4-16) in the first game, scoring 10 runs in the first inning and eight in the second. The J-Hawks batted .750 (18 of 24) in the opener.
Kailey Drake drove in five runs, Carson Burgart knocked in three, and Maddie Koolbeck hit the first varsity home run of her career.
“I’ve hit a few that were close,” Koolbeck said. “As I was rounding first I was hoping, ‘Please get over the fence.’ ”
Game 2 seemed to be heading the same direction — Jefferson led 7-0 through five innings — but Kennedy put a rally together in the sixth.
The Cougars got within 7-4 and had the bases loaded with two outs when Coach Larry Niemeyer asked those three words:
“Pete, you ready?”
Petersen walked Maddie Flesner to make it 7-5, then forced Heather McKinnon to pop out to end the threat.
Jefferson got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, then Petersen doused the Cougars for good in the seventh.
“I feel a lot better now than I did after the first game, but it’s still not the best feeling in the world,” Kennedy coach Katie Bova said. “That first game, that’s not a reflection of the way we’ve been playing against some good teams.”
The first game was so lopsided (it was 18-0 with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the second), the J-Hawks intentionally led off third base too early to draw outs — twice.
|C.R. Kennedy||0 0 0||–||0||0||2|
|C.R. Jefferson||(10) 8 x||–||18||18||0|
Taylor Sohn and Lauren Kubovec. Hannah Petersen and Maddie Hansen. W — Petersen (14-2). L — Sohn (4-10). HR — CRJ: Maddie Koolbeck (1).
|C.R. Kennedy||0 0 0||0 0 5||0||–||5||10||1|
|C.R. Jefferson||0 5 0||2 0 1||x||–||8||13||1|
Madeline Crist and Peyton Baskerville. Brooke Stauffer, Hannah Petersen (6) and Maddie Hansen. W — Stauffer (12-1). L — Crist (3-10). SV — Petersen.