The time that teams all across the state have been waiting for is here. The state tournaments are officially upon us. Every class has at least one matchup of teams that have battled each other before. Within that spectrum, Class 2A, Class 3A, and Class 4A have first round matchups of teams that have tangled before in state tournament action. Now without further wait, lets dive into a few of the bigger storylines across first round action for each class.
Class 1A has a more familiar feel from the 2021 campaign with three of the eight teams making a second straight trip back to Merchants Park.
- Newman Catholic vs Lisbon
This is a matchup that marks the only across the ’22 Class 1A scene where two teams facing off have already tangled with each other in the past. With this battle, it’s even more than that as both of these teams have not just faced off before (3-0 Newman advantage), but they have battled in the state tournament prior as well. More than that, the last time these two teams faced off in the state tournament was in the 2018 state title game. Newman won that contest in a 9-5 ending to give them their 7th of eight total state titles.
Back then, both teams ranked among the top two in the class in long balls with the Knights sporting 26 homers and the Lions sporting 25 homers. This season, the home run total belongs more in favor of Newman 21-11.
- CAM vs New London
Both programs have made recent appearances to the state tournament with New London returning from last season and CAM last appearing in 2017. Both squads have had a habit of pointing out the state champion early. In three of the combined state tournament appearances between the two teams, two state title winners have emerged. In CAM’s only prior appearance back in 2017, their opening round loss was to the eventual champions in Newman Catholic. For New London in their two trips to state, both of their opening round opponents won and later went on to the title game. Back in 2006, Lennox bested the Tigers and later went on to capture their only state title in program history.
- Van Meter vs Kuemper Catholic
Van Meter has sported 124 wins up to this point over the past four seasons. It’s been quite an impressive run that includes the chance for the Bulldogs to be one of just two teams in history to win four consecutive state titles. They have an undefeated season at hand but with quite an obstacle in their way to kick things off at Merchants Park in Carroll. The last team to defeat the Bulldogs in state tournament action came back in 2017 and that team was Kuemper Catholic. The very same team that opposes Van Meter in the opening round of the 2022 state tournament. Let the electric action begin!
- ELC vs Interstate-35
A good majority of the state tournament field in 1A has at least one state tournament win under their belts. Then there comes the intriguing matchup of Estherville Lincoln Central and Interstate-35. Both programs have been to the state tournament four times. All four of those trips have resulted in a first round loss. The drought will remain in existence for one team while another will feel the taste of victory!
- Winterset vs Western Dubuque
This is a matchup that’s very intriguing as it houses the only remaining team from last years’ state tournament in 3A. In fact, 3A has the fewest number of teams back from last year’s run including reigning champs Marion. The one team that does come back is Raccoon River Conference member Winterset. The Huskies are embarking upon their 4th state tournament appearance, going up against a Bobcat squad in their 7th state tournament appearance.
This is the first 3A state tournament run for Western Dubuque since 2012 but first time back to state tournament action since 2019 when they were in Class 4A. Winterset has scored the most first inning runs out of any team in the state this postseason (16 runs). Meanwhile, Western Dubuque has given up just three runs all postseason so far. Overall, the Huskies are looking for their first opening round victory while the Bobcats are looking for their first opening round win since 2018.
- West Delaware vs Independence
The matchup between West Delaware and Independence is one of two opening round games featuring two teams in Class 3A who have matched up before. Overall, the Hawks and the Mustangs have battled 28 times leading up to this battle. History has favored the Hawks who have won 23 of the 28 games between these two teams in the historical series. Both squads have battled before in state tournament action, but not in the lifetimes of the current players as the prior battle came back in the 1996 Class 3A tournament. That was Independence’s first of two tournament trips and they made it all the way to the state title game that year.
- Lewis Central vs Sergeant Bluff-Luton
The opening round contest between the Titans and the Warriors marks the 9th time in history these two programs will have squared off. It is the first state tournament battle against each other for both teams and for the Warriors, it’s their sixth overall appearance while it’s the fifth for the Titans. This will be the overall series tie-breaker as both teams have taken four wins each, with Lewis Central winning the most recent battle back in 2021.
- Cedar Rapids Prairie vs Dowling Catholic
This battle features two of the three teams that return from the 2021 state tournament. In fact, it’s a rematch of last year’s opening round game where Prairie used a six-run seventh to claim the win. Overall, that’s the only time these two teams have squared off against each other. Dowling enters with the most state tournament appearances (summer) out of any team currently in the 2022 state tournament field. Meanwhile, Prairie will enter into their 5th state tournament appearance in program history.
- Waukee vs Waukee Northwest
Very few teams can say that in their very first year of existence, they made it all the way to the state tournament. Waukee Northwest is one of those few who can. Interestingly enough, it will be a battle of Waukee as the Wolves will face crosstown rival Warriors in the opening round. They will face a Waukee team entering into their 10th (summer) state tournament appearance.