A mix of traditional powers and Principal Park newcomers fill this year’s 4A field. Top-seeded Johnston, 2-time defending champion Urbandale, Ankeny, and Pleasant Valley all return from last year’s tournament. Waukee returns for the 6th time in 7 years, Dubuque Hempstead, IC City High and Cedar Falls round out the field.
URDANDALE VS WAUKEE 10:30 WEDNESDAY
This will be the 5th time these two teams have faced off this year – splitting the series 2-2. 3 of those games were decided by 1 run and the last time Ty Langenberg and Jackson Payne met they combined for 30 strikeouts. 1 run may win this game as two of the state’s elite pitching staffs go to battle.
JOHNSTON VS CEDAR FALLS 1:30 WEDNESDAY
Cedar Falls season was shortened due to COVID and they come into the tournament having played only 8 games. They are clicking at the right time having upset both Western Dubuque and Cedar Rapids Kennedy in their sub-state, but will need to be perfect to beat the top-ranked Dragons. Johnston comes into the tournament leading the state in Batting Avg, Home Runs, Runs Scored, on-base and slugging percentage – expect the Dragons offense to stay hot and put up a big number.
HEMPSTEAD VS IOWA CITY HIGH 4:30 WEDNESDAY
The biggest surprise in the postseason so far may be IC High. After winning 2, 1 run games to earn their spot, they will play the underdog role again as the 7 seed. Hempstead comes into the tournament with a 15-1 record after beating CR Prairie to earn a trip to Des Moines. Andrue Henry has been one of the state’s best all year having only given up 3 runs in his 25 innings pitched, pair that with an offense hitting .371 and it could a be long day for the little hawks.
ANKENY VS PLEASANT VALLEY
Ankeny has been towards the top of the 4A rankings all year and will likely rely on Iowa commit Brody Brecht to advance them to the quarterfinals. Brecht is striking out over two hitters an inning and if he can limit his walks will be a nightmare for the PV lineup. Don’t sleep on the Spartans – they beat both North Scott and top ten IC Liberty in convincing fashion on their way to Principal Park.