Unfortunately with the way the new schedule for baseball is set up, a week pushed up has meant not a lot of action on the Class 1A front. Out of the 112 teams that didn’t start their seasons last week 61 of them were from the 1A ranks. Of those 61 teams, six resided in our Way-Too-Early Preseason Rankings. Not much will be in the way of changes for this week, giving more emphasis on week two, or the true week one for most 1A programs.
1.) Newman Catholic (4-0)
It’s pretty hard pressed to find anyone who might be in opposition to Newman Catholic being the top dog after one week. After all, they did go undefeated and post the highest run differential of any 1A team with three or more games under their belts through week one. Newman Catholic has proven they are back on top as they’ve outscored opponents 49-6 entering the new week of action. The Knights have already posted up five home runs which lead the class along with hits (48), RBI (45), and total bases (68). It’s clear that the Knights have earned the top spot with a week two schedule that includes battles against Osage, Clear Lake, Algona, North Butler, and Nashua-Plainfield.
2.) North Linn (0-0)
For the sixth time in seven seasons, the North Linn Lynx baseball program topped 30 wins in a season during the 2021 campaign. It was a season that saw the team lead the class in stolen bases (222) while fourth in runs scored (361). From that offensive power, the Lynx bring back pretty much all of their run total (99 percent) as well as 87 percent of their run producers (RBI). On the base paths, every single one of their stolen bases return, including Austin Hilmer and his Class 1A-best 75 stolen bases from last season. The Lynx also bring back that strong defense which including a fielding percentage at .949. What perhaps adds even more excitement for 2022 is the return of their entire pitching staff, all 258 innings and 252 strikeouts. That portion looks to be spearheaded by Hilmer and Mason Bechen who tossed 57 strikeouts last season before officially being called a freshman. Safe to say that the Lynx will be having another strong season in 2022, making baseball fans even more eager for the season ahead to commence.
3.) Council Bluffs St. Albert (0-0)
What a year it was for the Falcons of St. Albert in 2021. Along with just their second 30-plus win campaign in 14 years, the program secured its 12th state tournament appearance and fourth state title. The now reigning champs bring back an excited roster, from a roster that ranked second in batting average (.397) first in runs scored (441), first in hits (475), first in total bases (603), and first in RBI (355). So much went the way of coach Patterson and the Falcons, and for 2022 that includes the return of three of their top six run producers, including Brendan Monahan and his 41 RBI and 82 total bases (not to mention his 31 stolen bases). Overall, there may not be as many flashy talking points about the Falcons, but in the end, they have proven themselves the team to be a team that’s here to stay and will likely seek to become a repeat title winner.
4.) Remsen St. Mary’s (2-0)
Outscoring their week one opponents 17-1, there’s a lot to like about the chances of Remsen St. Mary’s making it back to the state tournament. The Hawks come fresh off of a season ranking in the top ten of Class 1A in total bases (399), RBI (245), hits (301), and of course, strikeouts with 283 (and a team ERA of 1.39). Despite losing out on their top two hits leaders, the Hawks still return 55 percent of their scoring offense including Cael Ortmann who posted a .385 average at the plate while leading the team with 35 RBI off of 24 hits. Even despite the loss of Blaine Harpenau and his historic 129 strikeouts, Remsen St. Mary’s still can look forward to the 52 percent of the strikeout performance donning the jersey at least once more. When looking at the potential outcomes for the Class 1A 2022 season, it’s hard not to think that the Hawks will not still be involved late in the conversation. Their second week of action includes games against 3A’s Webster City, Bishop Garrigan, and fellow state tournament team Unity Christian.