CLINTON -- Coach Kevin Cunningham has a pretty good idea of how his Clinton High School baseball team stacks up against four of the teams in the River Kings’ Class 4A substate tournament. The one unknown is the team the River Kings drew in the first round.
Clinton (19-9 heading into a Saturday contest at Iowa City West) will play host to Western Dubuque of Epworth, a team from the WaMaC Conference, when the Class 4A postseason tournament begins July 19.
“We have not played them, but I have watched them,” Cunningham said Wednesday. “They’re a competitive team, and we will have to play well.”
The River Kings earned the third seed for the tournament. In the other opening-round games that night, top-seeded Pleasant Valley plays host to Dubuque Senior and Dubuque Hempstead is at No. 2 Bettendorf. The highest seed that wins in the opening round gets a bye to the final while the other two winners square off on the higher seed’s field.
Cunningham is much more familiar with those other teams. Clinton has played all four of them this season.
“I’m 2-1 against Senior in two years, 2-0 against Hempstead and 3-1 against Bettendorf in the last two years,” Cunningham said. “Pleasant Valley is the team that has gotten; they’re 3-1 against us. But good hitting beats good pitching, and if our hitting is on we’ll be OK.”
Cunningham -- and likely Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley, too -- would rather have been in the substate to Clinton’s south that features six Mississippi Athletic Conference rivals: Muscatine, North Scott, Burlington and the three Davenport public schools.
“We would have been the No. 1 seed in the more true MAC substate,” he said. “But with that said, we’ve played these other teams before.”
In Class 3A, WaMaC rivals Central DeWitt and Maquoketa face each other in the first round of Substate 5 at 7 p.m. July 19.