Your Prep Sports
The softball postseason got started for the small classes last week and by the end of this week all five classes will be in fully in the postseason swing.
As always the Your Prep Sports area has a number of teams battling for a spot at the state tournament which is schedule for July 18-22 at Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge.
Before the regional action really gets rolling this week here are a few things to pay attention to when watching Your Prep Sports area teams.
Clear Creek Amana Chasing More
Perhaps Clear Creek Amana arrived at the state tournament sooner than expected last season when the Clippers pulled off a memorable comeback to beat Marion in the regional title game before falling to ADM 1-0 in the 4A quarterfinals.
This season the Clippers are seeking a return trip to state with the expectation of a much longer trip in Fort Dodge.
Third-ranked Clear Creek Amana (28-7) enters the postseason among the favorites in Class 4A with all the makings of a team capable of putting together a deep run.
It starts in the circle where the Clippers have a dominator in junior Ashley Webb who is 13-2 with a 1.11 ERA and has struck out 126 in 107 2/3 innings.
Clear Creek Amana also has depth in the form of sophomore Bliss Beck who is 15-4 with a .52 ERA and has held opponents to a .120 batting averaging while fanning 136 in 93 2/3 innings.
The lineup is young but talented and has a couple of stalwarts at the top in seniors Bailey Olerich (.441 BA, 45 runs) and Emma Mathis (.377 BA, 31 RBI).
As the top seed in 4A, Region 7 the Clippers host the winner of Marion and Solon in the semifinals on Saturday and would host the regional title game with a win.
Burlington (18-13) is the second seed and awaits the winner of Fort Madison (22-12) and Keokuk (7-24) in the other semifinal.
Liberty High Looking for History
It has already been quite a season for Liberty High and athletic director turned head coach Mike Morrison.
No. 12 Liberty High (26-13) has already established a single season school record for wins and set a new mark for Mississippi Valley Conference victories entering its regular season finale on Tuesday against Cedar Falls.
The Lightning can make it a historic season with a strong postseason.
Liberty High is seeking its first ever state tournament trip and has a team capable of securing a spot in Fort Dodge.
All that stands in the way of the first state tournament trip for Liberty High is a pair of wins over Mississippi Athletic Conference opponents.
Liberty High will host Davenport West (19-19) in a 5A, Region 8 semifinal on Saturday with top-seeded and fourth-ranked Muscatine (32-3) likely waiting in the title game.
The Muskies would present a big-time challenge in the title game but Liberty High has a lineup capable of keeping pace with any team.
Led by sophomore Mischa Reiners (.430 BA, 22 extra-base hits) and Haileigh Smith (.341 BA, 9 HR) the Lightning have pop and senior Kinsley Robertson (13-6, 1.81 ERA) has been solid in the circle all season.
Regina Rolling into Regionals
New year, same story.
Once again a Regina squad battled tested by a challenging regular season schedule appears to have hit its stride with the postseason approaching.
Class 2A fourth-ranked Regina (18-11) has won eight of 11 entering its Region 6 opener on Wednesday against Denver (13-17).
The Regals won four of five to close the regular season with wins over a trio of top-five ranked opponents from larger classes.
Securing a second consecutive state tournament appearance and sixth trip to Des Moines in eight years will be no simple task for the Regals who would host the winner of Alburnett (17-16) and Waterloo Columbus (24-10) in a semifinal on Friday.
No. 12 East Marshall is the second seed in Region 6 and would travel to Iowa City for a regional final.
Pitching rules in the postseason and Regina has one of the best in Class 2A in senior right-hander Emma Nibaur.
Nibaur is 14-7 with a 2.52 ERA and has struck out 119 in 130 2/3 innings.
Rematch Road for Solon
Solon concluded WAMAC Conference play last week with back-to-back doubleheaders against Clear Creek Amana and Marion.
The first two potential postseason opponents for the Spartans in Class 4A, Region 7?
You guessed it.
Solon (20-15) split a doubleheader with Marion (20-16) at home on Wednesday in which neither team tipped its hand with both sides staying away from its top pitching options.
The winner-take-all rubber match between the evenly-matched WAMAC East Division rivals comes on Wednesday in Solon.
Both teams boast nearly identical regular season records and each went an identical 12-10 in WAMAC play.
From runs scored (Marion 230, Solon 210) to team ERA (Marion 3.91, Solon 3.89) the statistics are nearly even and the teams have split the last six meetings dating back to 2020.
The key for Solon on Wednesday could be the top of its order.
Mia Stahle (.286 BA), Meghan O’Neill (.350 BA) and Ava Stebral (.287 BA) need to get on base for run producers Hilary Wilson (33 RBI) and Camryn Keith (26 RBI).
Those top three hitters were a combined 6-for-20 in the regular season doubleheader with the Wolves while Wilson and Keith were 6-for-11.
With a win on Wednesday Solon would earn a rematch with third-ranked Clear Creek Amana (28-7) on Saturday.
The Spartans split a doubleheader with CCA on June 27 winning the opener 3-0 and dropping game two 2-1.
New-Look City High Up For Another Run
Last season City High made its second appearance in the past three seasons as the Class 5A state tournament.
The road back to Fort Dodge is a challenging one for the Little Hawks in 2021.
City High (18-20) would like need back-to-back road wins over ranked opponents to return to the state tournament starting with a trip to No. 11 Bettendorf (25-10) on Saturday for a Class 5A, Region 4 semifinal.
Fifth-ranked West Des Moines Valley (23-12) is the top seed in Region 4 and would host the title game with a semifinal win.
After the loss of several key seniors from last year’s state tournament team City High has been a pleasant surprise during its rebuilding season with a roster filled with young talent.
Freshmen Lianna Hull (.522 BA, 54 runs) and Avy Lindsey (.419 BA, 42 RBI) have impressed along with eighth-grader Molly Carlson (5 HR, 22 RBI).
With seniors Makayla Ribble (.374 BA, 31 RBI) and Sydney McCleary (3 HR, 31 RBI) in the middle of the order the Little Hawks still have enough pop to make some postseason noise.