CLINTON — When the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) unveiled regional softball pairings Monday, it set up some potential showdowns between local teams.
Preston, Calamus-Wheatland, Marquette Catholic, Camanche, Northeast, Maquoketa and Central DeWitt may all wind up facing familiar foes in the second or third rounds of the regional softball tournaments. Region 4 of the Class 1A tournament — particularly — features a heavy dose of the Big East Conference at the top half of the bracket, with Midland joining the Warriors, Trojans and Mohawks.
Meanwhile, Clinton will meet a Mississippi Athletic Conference rival, Davenport West, in Round 1 of Class 5A Region 5, and Bellevue will face North Linn in 2A, rounding out local teams.
Coincidently, Clinton and West wrap up the season in a doubleheader July 5. They square off again on Thursday, July 11, in Davenport. River Queens coach Trina Cewe said the staff had a chance to review the region Monday night.
“The last couple of years we went up to Dubuque, so we had to go scout the teams,” she said. “It’s nice that we’re able to play (West) at the end of the season.”
Region 5 also features No. 2-ranked Pleasant Valley, a major hurdle for everyone, according to Cewe.
Regionals kick off Monday, July 8, when Cal-Wheat travels to Springville for Round 1 of the Class 1A tournament at 7 p.m. Should the Warriors win, it will set up a July 10 contest with Marquette, who received a bye after compiling an 18-8 record and a No. 12 IGHSAU ranking at selection time. Preston, also with a bye, will face the winner between Midland and Central City, also on July 10.
“I think Marquette’s the team to beat,” Preston coach Tim Zeimet said, adding that the Trojans and Mohawks met for a third time last weekend at Davenport Assumption. “They’re just a tough team, relentless defensively.”
The winners in Round 2 could set up a Big East regional semifinal on July 12 at Marquette. The Mohawks and Trojans are the top two seeds on that side of the bracket. The Region 4 final will take place Monday, July 15, in Manchester on Monday.
There’s enough time left in the season for team’s to discover who they are, Zeimet said.
“The mentality is, you just don’t hold anything back,” he said. “I’m not looking ahead until we face Central City or Midland because we’re just not a good enough team to overlook anybody.”
Northeast and Camanche each host Class 3A Round 1 games on Tuesday, July 9, at 7 p.m. The Rebels will take on West Liberty and the Indians will play Davenport Assumption. Should both teams win, it will set up another Big East match-up that favors the Rebels with Round 2 taking place on July 12 at Goose Lake. The winner will move on to the regional final in Wilton for a chance to be named regional champion.
“I’d say it’s a competitive bracket,” Northeast coach Travis Eversmyer said. “It’s anyone’s game on the top half. From a standpoint of getting your kids up for the game, it’s always a benefit knowing the team you’re playing.”
It will be Camanche coach Erin Schlotfeldt’s first postseason with the Indians. She said familiarity in the bracket was key for her team.
“We’ll be able to make adjustments for what didn’t work before,” Schlotfeldt said. “We’re going to be tweaking some things. The best part is we’re not playing our best softball yet.”
Schlotfeldt added, like most teams, she hopes her team will be peaking by the time postseason rolls around.
Maquoketa and Central DeWitt will need to survive two rounds if they hope to set up a WaMaC Conference East rematch. In Region 3 of the 4A regionals, the Cardinals host Western Dubuque at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 11. The Sabers host Dubuque Wahlert on the same date and time.
If Maquoketa wins, it will travel to Manchester for Round 2 against West Delaware; DeWitt would go to Solon. Both games would take place Saturday, July 13, at 7 p.m. The Regional Final will take place Tuesday, July 16, also at Solon.
Winners of each bracket will advance to the IGHSAU state tournament July 22-26, at the Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge.