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Summer leagues offer welcome change for athletes

By Hannah Brecht
On May 5, 2014


The college baseball season may be coming to an end but for Kirkwood Community College's starting pitcher and second year student Will Ross, another baseball season is just beginning.

The Norway Bandits, part of the Iowa Valley League and 2013 state champions, are in preparation for another season with high expectations. Ross was one of the pitchers in the championship game last August. 

"Summer leagues are definitely more relaxed than playing at the college level," Ross said. "We just play baseball and have fun."

The Iowa Valley League is a semi-professional baseball organization that consists of several teams from small towns. Two of these teams, the Norway Bandits and the Watkins Mudhens, hold a rivalry that has lasted for decades and its not close to stopping yet.

Ross said, "The first game I ever pitched was against Watkins. I pitched the full game. At that time I didn't really know about the rivalry but it still felt good to beat them." 

Ross said he was one of the many college baseball players who played for the league in the summer. The ages of the players range from 18-year-old players fresh out of high school to middle-aged men who haven't lost their ability to play the game well. The league began when towns started having teams with local players. Over the years it has evolved into a highly competitive league including skilled players from all over Iowa, including a few Kirkwood players.

Iowa Valley League games begin at the end of May and run through August. The Norway Bandits host games every Wednesday at the Norway baseball diamond and the Watkins Mudhens host games every Thursday at their home diamond. Both teams travel on Sundays, sometimes playing each other.

 The Iowa Valley League baseball is not the only summer activity happening for Kirkwood students. The Rec Center will stay open every weekday during the summer from 6 a.m. to 6 or 6:30 p.m., depending on the day. For more information on fitness classes, activities happening at the Rec Center and the hours students can go to

Another summer option is to head out to the Village East apartments and check out the outdoor activities held there. They have a basketball court and sand volleyball.

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