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The Gazette KCRG
Posted August 1, 2010
Kennedy beats short-handed West, 11-1, for 4A title

Cedar Rapids Kennedy celebrates their victory over Iowa City West in the Class 4A baseball championship at Principal Park in Des Moines on Saturday, July 31, 2010. (Cliff Jette/SourceMedia Group)

DES MOINES — You’d have to say this one was over shortly after it began. Or maybe before it began.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy won its first state baseball championship last night by destroying Iowa City West, 11-1, in the Class 4A title game at Principal Park.

This much-anticipated battle of Mississippi Valley Conference rivals never materialized, perhaps in part because of who didn’t play as well as the actions of the guys who did. That’s not in the least meant to slight the Cougars (32-10), who played great baseball at this tournament and fully earned their title.

This game ended in the bottom of the fifth inning on a two-out error. West had pulled its starters defensively.

“I’m so happy for everybody. Our team deserves this,” said Kennedy’s Austin Christensen.

That’s truth, but you can’t deny Kennedy’s task turned considerably easier with the suspension of West ace pitcher and cleanup hitter Ryan Rumpf for violating school conduct policy. Rumpf was 11-0 this season, including a win in West’s quarterfinal against defending champion Sioux City North.

The team’s RBI leader, he was 4-for-7 at the state tournament with five runs batted in. He beat Kennedy in the regular season.

“There are millions of high school kids every day making bad decisions,” said West Coach Charlie Stumpff. “He did what he did. He’ll grow and get better from it. He’s a good person and baseball player. That’s where you grow. You get growth out of it. He’ll be fine, and we’ll be fine. It’s just tough to deal with right now.”

With all that being said, Kennedy took advantage of its advantage by tagging replacement starter Luke Crimmins and reliever Connor Schreck for 14 hits. Few were of the cheap variety, either.

Christensen had a run-scoring double off the center-field wall in the first inning. His courtesy runner scored on a bullet single to center by Devon Jacobus.

In the second, Griffin Michael had a line-drive RBI single to left. B.J. Cunningham ended any and all suspense this game had left with a three-run double over the left fielder’s head.

“We played great all tournament,” said Christensen, who went 1-for-1 with three walks and was the winning pitcher. “Rumpf is a great pitcher, and it would have changed the game definitely. But we won a state (title), and nobody can take that away from us.”

“Our kids can only control so much,” said Kennedy Coach Bret Hoyer. “We can’t control who our opponent puts out on the field. We have to still pitch the ball, throw the ball, field the ball. You have to be able to hit the ball, no matter who they throw at us.”

West (31-8) could do little against lefty Christensen, who was sharp with six strikeouts the first three innings, including fanning the side in the third. Sean Moore, as good a high-school hitter as you’ll see, spoiled the shutout try with an opposite-field home run to right leading off the fourth.

It was the first run West had scored in back-to-back championship games. The Trojans were shutout last year by Sioux City North, 4-0.

David Yancey had three hits for Kennedy. Jacobus, Terrell Sykes and Cunningham had two each.

Kennedy scored double figures in runs in its last six games of the season and seven of its final eight.

“We had a nice game plan set up for this game, and we produced 11 runs,” Cunningham said. “This means everything. It means everything to this program, to us seniors, to everybody on the team. People don’t see the extra people, the fans and everyone who put all that work in. It just feels amazing when we can give everybody this.”

“This is a pretty special feeling,” said Hoyer. “It really hasn’t sunk in, yet.”

Here are short videos of Kennedy’s postgame celebration and an interview with Christensen:

29 Responses to Kennedy beats short-handed West, 11-1, for 4A title

  1. I think that it is not fair the way you guys say that kennedy doesn’t deserve this win just because IC didn’t have their ace pitcher. Kennedy won fair and square and it really makes me and a lot of kennedy fans, players, and parents mad that KCRG and the Gazette make it sound like kennedy doesn’t deserve the state championship. Why does the Gazette and KCRG hate kennedy? I bet kennedy would have scored more runs if Rumpf was pitching because kennedy would have been more pumped up. Kennedy truely deserved it considering they were facing each teams top pitchers and beat every team by 10 runs.

    And if you think this year was a fluke, we will be back to prove you wrong again!

  2. Kennedy’s Baseball program may be the city’s top high school program. Year in, year out they put up great records, maximize their talent, and always peak at the right time. I am so happy to see them finish a season on top.

    Congrats to the players, their families, Coach Hoyer and his staff!

  3. This article basically said “yeah Kennedy won, but they didn’t deserve it.” All the gazette talked about was this Rumpf kid that shouldn’t have gotten to play because of a stupid decision, and they are saying that he would’ve won west the game! Kennedy destroyed every team they played in this tournament, substate and state, and they would’ve used that momentum and roughed Rumpf up too. Maybe the gazette should realize that Kennedy was the best team at this tournament and write a real story highlighting their accomplishment instead of a kid that didn’t even play.
    Anyway, congrats cougars on finally getting your first state championship. And congrats to Coach Hoyer on his long overdue championship.

  4. Kennedy apparently does their talking on the field! I will say it was a bit shocking to see them knock off the number 1 seed and get 5th page coverage….Way to support your home team Gazette…did we not forget that there IS the IC Press Citizen???
    As far as I am concerned, what angers me more, is the FSU shirts that were allowed to be worn throughout the tourney….look up the definition on “netlingo” Free Swingers United? Gimme a break! (Sounds like something pornographic anyway!) To wear these shirts with the definition of what net lingo defines the terms is a disgrace to the high school, the state and the game of baseball. As a graduate of Iowa City West, I am disappointed…to put it mildly. West High, if you are gonna wear these shirts, you need to add print to the back…..” Yes, we did!” Learn from it, write many appoligizes and play a competitive game next year. As far as Kennedy goes…I bet they are LOL!

  5. Going into the Championship game, Kennedy had scored 21 runs in the State play offs… their opponents had 3.
    After the Championship game: Kennedy 32 runs….their opponents: 4

  6. Way to go Kennedy!!! All those months of USSSA baseball have really paid off. All those weekends at tourneys in Quad Cities, Des Moine, Omaha, Kansas City and many nights of hotel stays have paid off with everyones biggest high school goal. Congrats to the local USSSA league that has helped to produce two state titles this year. This is what people have been dreaming of ever since the leagues were formed years ago. Should definitely be more championships on the way to eastern Iowa.

  7. We as a school and many more feel like kennedy have been one of the best from the beginning of the year and played the best. We beat a lot of great schools. I feel as though we as a school and a ball team didn’t get a lot of appreciation and credit. I feel like we deserved this 100% we were the better team. It be nice if there was a better article about us. We will be back again! Go Cougars!!

  8. Congratulations to a classy program! This championship is well deserved and long overdue for Coach Hoyer and staff. A special congratulations to Coach Herkelman. It is nice to see the good guys finally win one.

  9. I didn’t read anywhere or hear anyone say that Kennedy didn’t deserve to win this state championship. I believe KCRG even used the term “total domination” in reference to the Kennedy team. I know that the IC West team members have a lot of respect for the Kennedy players and program. Anyone who followed the 4A season and tournament knows, however, that this would have been a different game if IC West had had it’s intended starters on the field Saturday night. Christensen even said that. Both TEAMS had a real chance to win. Most people don’t realize that this is not just all about the pitcher that wasn’t on the mound for West. It is also about a great group of kids that were devastated and baffled to learn, one hour before their departure for the title game, that some poor decisions led to the suspension of a teammate and they would be facing a different situation than they had planned on all week. They were not themselves on the field that night – it was a bit too much to overcome in a matter of hours. I truly believe that if none of this had happened we would have seen a great battle between 2 great teams – we all missed out on that.

    Congratulations to Kennedy on their championship title and to IC West on their 2nd place finish and to BOTH teams for their great seasons and their great kids, coaches, and fans.

  10. Would it have been a different game? maybe, but I don’t believe by much – KHS showed dominance all week at the State Tournament! I am certain it was devastating for the team to find out that their ace would not be participating; however, no one stopped his actions or stopped the players from wearing FSU shirts all week. So be it!
    KHS DOMINATED, DESERVED and EARNED the right to be called STATE CHAMPS.

  11. Congrats Cougars! On the other the Gazette should be ashamed of their coverage. Absolutely terrible

  12. All this article said that kennedy didnt deserve to win becasue IC didnt have their ace in. Kennedy scored a combined total of 22 runs aginst the 3 and 2 seed. Also look at the fact that christensen dominated the west hitters only allowing one run and kennedy was only shut out once the whole year, and with the way they were playing ball that weekend they couldnt be touched hitting wise. Kennedy would have won this game no matter who was on the mound and deserves more credit.

  13. U dont understand Rumpf was 11-0 going into the state game he dominated every team they faced. than on this day an hour before game time say that he cant pitch and put someone on the mound he pitched the previous day and is a sophomore. this would have been a whole different game is rumpf was pitching. and dont forget about his hitting!!

  14. FSU, class act, thats why they did not win a championship, no discipline, and thats why the things like the Rumpf situation happens

  15. If Rumpf was allowed to play, West would have been MUCH more pumped (believe me). I’m not saying Rumpf would shut Kennedy down, but he would have made it close.

    1-2-3 inning in the top of the first would set up a nice momentum shift for the rest of the game. With the momentum in west’s favor, Ewing’s line drive shot to left would have been carried over the left fielder’s head for a nice double. Sean Moore would have hit another home run over the right field fence, and Neil Madsen would have won an F-150 to make it a 3-0 ballgame.

    Kennedy definitely played well all playoffs, and they do deserve 2nd place, but saying that they could beat RYAN RUMPF is just absurd.

    Also Joe Strub, that kid is an untamed beast ready to strike.

  16. Kennedy beat two undefeated pitchers in the State Tournament. The pitcher from Dowling was drafted by the Phillies and the Cougars knocked him out. ALso faced Jon Keller an 11th round draft choice this year and beat him. They led virtually all offensive categories in the state tournament so I don’t think Rumpf would have done as well as you think,

    Do your homework huff.

  17. IC West administrators have some work to do to improve their image within the athletic community: Football: soph. players stealing from the other team adn their own. Wrestling: Wrestler gets DQ’d in a match at the state tournament for intential slam. Baseball: Players wearing FSU shirts and ‘ace’ on the team doing what he did to a teammate. Am i forgetting anything else?!
    CONGRATS TO KHS Baseball players and coaches-

  18. Cougfan:

    West also played an extremely good tournament until the finals, outscoring their opponents 22-3 in the first two rounds.
    West also beat Keller in the substate final.
    Your remark about leading all offensive catagories is flaud because they both scored the same amount of runs, West put the 10 run rule into effect against the reigning state champions and kennedy had no homeruns in the tourny, West had 2
    What is done is done and we can never change that, but it would have been a much better game had Rumpf pitched, i went to the regular season meeting of the teams and the game that West won 4-3 in which Rumpf and Christianson pitched was one of the best I saw all year. To bad it couldn’t have played out like that in the finals, it would have been one of the best of all-time.

  19. I think many people are missing the point of this article. Congratulations are due to both teams who made it so far in their seasons. Both West and Kennedy have great players and making it to State is an amazing accomplishment.
    That being said West was definitely screwed over. The incident Ryan Rumpf was a part of occurred Wednesday after their first win in the tournament. A parent brought up the situation SATURDAY MORNING, which, in my opinion, was extremely poor timing and judgement on their part. I definitely do not condone the behavior of the teammates punished, however, I would certainly argue that the parent did not have any regard for the team memebers. I also believe this was a very rash and poor decision on the West High Athletic Director’s part. I have a feeling that if this same incident occurred with the WRESTLING team, a West High team that the Athletic Director so obviously favors, no action would have been taken and no teammates would have been suspended.
    This situation shook up every one of the players. The morale of the team was very different that Saturday. I find it extremely sad that the West High players and families will remember this game as a drama-filled event, as opposed to an exciting, proud moment regardless if they won or lost.
    Congratulations to the Kennedy team for their win; your players certainly displayed great sportsmanship during the final game and you should own and be proud of your title.

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