Prairie came into opening day facing the 3rd ranked Jefferson J-Hawks, and a D1 commit/ MLB draft prospect in Spencer Van Scoyoc. Van Scoyoc is one of the best pitchers in the state of Iowa, and it was easy to tell by the dozen or so MLB scouts in the stands observing the senior. The Hawks had a chip on their shoulder starting this tournament, after getting zero votes in the state coaches poll.
With Senior Jared Street on the mound vs. Van Scoyoc, the Hawks gutted out a 3-2 win over the J-Hawks in the first round, chasing Van Scoyoc in the 5th inning, despite only gathering a couple hits.
After giving up an early towering home run to Van Scoyoc himself, Street settled in nicely, and actually looked to be the better pitcher in the contest. Senior Tyler Nunemaker took the mound in the 7th, where he got the first 2 outs before allowing two runners, and intentionally walking Van Scoyoc to load the bases. He then got an infield pop up, caught by shortstop Cal Clark (‘16) to end the game.
As the Hawks ran onto the field to celebrate, they knew that the job wasn’t done yet. They would be back at the same field the next day to take on the Washington Warriors in the semi-finals.
For the semi-finals, the Hawks demolished the Warriors 15-0 in just 4 innings. Senior 3rd basemen Cooper Reittinger heated up at the plate, hitting a 3 run homer over the left field “blue monster”, along with a double and sacrifice fly. He finished the day with 5 runs batted in.
The Hawks steadily shelled the Washington pitchers to advance to the finals in a booming way, all the while still thinking about the lack of respect opposing coaches gave the team in preseason polls.
On Wednesday, the Hawks faced the Kennedy Cougars in the Metro tournament championship, with junior Darren Kilpatrick on the mound in his first varsity start.
The lanky Kilpatrick was lights out, allowing only 3 hits, no runs, and striking out 7 in 6 innings. Prairie’s offense stayed hot, scoring 5 runs, and winning the game 5-0. To close out the game, Prairie put freshman Harrison Cook on the mound, another tall glass of water, who put the Cougars down in order in the 7th for the win.
“The pitchers and the way they’ve had command of the zone has been outstanding,” Rima told the Gazette of Kilpatrick. “We were excited to see what he would do in his first varsity start and it’s just the Metro championship. To see him handle it like that, our team got better moving forward because of it.”
This is Prairie’s first ever metro title, a sign of things to come for a talented and clearly underrated team. With an incredible defense behind solid pitching, and a good approach at the plate, it’s going to be hard for opponents to find a weakness this summer.