Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – City High had lost four of its last five games and had gone nearly three weeks without a doubleheader sweep entering its matchup with cross-town rival Liberty High.
A trio of City High seniors got the Little Hawks back on track in a big way on Friday.
Brady Herzic tossed seven strong innings in the opener and Liam McComas and Zach Kuepker each had run-scoring extra-base hits as City High swept Liberty High in a Mississippi Valley Conference doubleheader at Mercer Park.
“We’ve been fighting hard in a lot of those games and just not getting hits when we needed them,” Kuepker said. “We executed well tonight, got hits when we needed them and played great.”
Herzic struck out six in a complete game as City High won the opener 4-2 and Kuepker had a three-run triple and drove in four in a 9-3 win in the nightcap.
The sweep was the first for City High since June 17 and improved the Little Hawks to 21-10 and 15-9 in conference play.
Liberty High dropped to 15-15 and 10-12 with its fourth consecutive loss.
“I expected tough games tonight, they have two good arms I was just really happy with how we were pretty composed,” City High coach Brian Mitchell said. “We had really good pitching and pretty darn good defense and our bats were pretty good too.”
Herzic and provided the strong pitching with a five-hitter in the opener.
The senior right-hander improved to 6-2 with the win, his first as a starter since June 10 against Dubuque Senior.
“This was super huge for me just to bounce back because I felt like I haven’t thrown well since CR Washington,” Herzic said. “I just haven’t been able to hit spots until now and this was a really good bounce back win.”
McComas provided the offensive punch in the opener with a two-run double to right center field in third inning that gave City High a 2-0 lead.
“Liam kind of helped kick things off for us and I thought he really came in with a great approach when he doubled to right center,” Mitchell said. “That set the tone a little bit for us.”
The McComas double was the start of a strong offensive evening City High which never trailed on Friday.
Garrett Bormann drew a one-out walk in the third and Gable Mitchell walked before McComas drove a fastball from Liberty High starter Nolan Frey to the fence in right center.
“I saw first and second in front of me and I knew I had to put the ball in play,” McComas said. “That is a position I get put in all the time and I know if I can score those guys it’s going to pass on the energy to the next guy.”
City High tacked on two more runs in the fourth when Carter Seaton plated Ben Steve with a two-out triple and scored on a wild pitch.
“Up and down the lineup it’s not like we have a ton of power but we have kids that understand the game,” Mitchell said. “Generally speaking most at bats they give a really good effort and they know what they are and what they are not.”
The nightcap was all City High after the Little Hawks snapped a scoreless tie with a five-run third inning.
City High took advantage of three walks and an error by Liberty High and got a bases loaded walk by Kuepker and an RBI single by Sam Lewers in the five-run inning.
“This whole year we’ve been jumping on teams early,” Kuepker said. “That’s what we are trying to execute every game and we did that well today.”
Kuepker broke the game open in his second plate appearance with the bases loaded in the fourth.
The senior outfield line a bases clearing triple to right field that gave City High an 8-0 lead.
Reese Hayden earned the win for City High in game two allowing two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
“Going into the playoffs we want to get our confidence up,” McComas said. “No matter what the pitching situation looks like on the other team we are just trying to put the ball in play and score runs.”
Liberty High 000 110 0 – 2 5 2
City High 002 200 x – 4 6 2
W – Brady Herzic L – Nolan Frey
2B – ICH: Liam McComas, Sam Lewers. ICL: Alec Boldt
3B – ICH: Carter Seaton
Liberty High 000 002 0 – 3 7 2
City High 005 400 x – 9 9 2
W – Reese Hayden L – Keian Secrist
2B – ICL: Keian Secrist
3B – ICH: Zach Kuepker, Keian Secrist
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