August 1, 2014

Defending 4A champ Johnston on a roll after reloading

After treading water for nearly the entire season Johnston is two wins away from a second straight 4A championship. The Dragons upset second ranked Waukee in the opening round of the state tournament and take a five game winning streak into tonight’s semifinal round matchup against fourth ranked Iowa City West.

“We lost 16 seniors from last year’s team so we know we’d be replacing most of our positions and all of our pitchers. But I am bless at Johnston, we’ve got good parents we’ve got good youth coaches, we’ve got a good youth program. They come to me pretty polished, I just get them going in the right direction,” Johnston coach Michael Barta says.

And he says the Dragons have put things together at the right time. “There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t talk about being competative and being fierce. That’s part of who we are. We like to think that when we come out in the Johnston jerseys that people are a little concerned,” Barta says.

Top ranked Dubuque Hemstead will be eighth rated Southeast Polk in the other 4A semifinal. State regulators approved a project Thursday to allow the new land-based Davenport casino to proceed.



Mason City Newman back in 1A baseball championship

Mason City Newman is headed back to the 1A championship game. Joe Burgmeier tripled to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning and scored on Parker Dondlinger’s single to

center as the second ranked and defending champion Knights edged sixth ranked Don Bosco 5-4 in the semifinal round.

Burgmeier’s hit came moments after Don Bosco scored two runs in the top of the seventh to draw even. “I don’t think we feel the nerves that some of the other teams do and it definitely helps,” Burgmeier says. “I meaan in that kind of game it’s just experience and baseball.” The Dons spent the entire game trying to rally after Mason City Newman scored three runs in the bottom of the first.

Top-ranked Twin Cedars scored 6 runs in the first and rolled to an 11-0 win over #5 Lemars Gehlen.

In 2A, top-ranked North Polk scored three and the first and added three more in the second to cruise to a 6-2 victory over Roland Story.

This afternoon it is the 3A semis. Top ranked Waverly-Shell Rock against Davenport Assumption and Seargeant Bluff Luton plays Dallas Center-Grimes.


Defending champ Johnston upsets Waukee in 4A baseball opener

Johnston may have entered the state tournament as the eighth seed in class 4A but the Dragons are also the defending champions and they looked the part in the opening round. Johnston scored six runs in a decisive third inning enroute to an 8-3 victory over second ranked Waukee. Coach Michael Barta’s team will take a 23-16 record into the semifinals.

Johnston trailed 2-0 after two innings but the Dragons came alive and chased Waukee starter Matt Mullenbach in the third inning. He gave up six runs in two and a third innings. Waukee finished with eight hits and scored only once after the Dragons’ big inning.

Waukee coach Dave Dirkx who says Johnston is playing with the confidence of a defending champion. Waukee ends the season with a record of 35-5.

Eighth ranked Southeast Polk scored a run in the top of the first and made it hold up in a 1-0 victory over Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the Class 4A baseball tournament.

Behind a three-run 6th inning, the second-seeded Dubuque Hempstead Mustangs rallied past the West Des Moines Valley Tigers, 4-2. Fourth-seeded Iowa City West broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the bottom of the 6th inning to defeat 5th-seeded Dowling Catholic 4-2.


Class 3A features rallies and close plays at baseball tournament

Waverly-Shell Rock senior Dan Stensland made a number of big plays in the top ranked Go-Hawks’ first round victory in class 3A. Stensland opened the scoring with a two run single and came on in relief of starter Sean Westendorf to get out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the seventh in a 3-1 victory over Solon.

It is the first ever state tournament win for Waverly-Shell Rock. Stensland also started an inning ending double play from his spot at third base in the top of the fifth inning to preserve a 2-0 lead. He says it was a team effort on defense. “Balls were rocketed out into right field and center field and our guys did a great job of tracking those down and getting outs. Sean pitched a heck of game. He’s been huge for us this season, not only pitching, he had a couple of great hits. This is a huge team win for us and I can’t wait to come down here Friday and play again,” Stensland says.

Davenport Assumption held off a late rally by sixth ranked Harlan to post an 8-7 victory in the class 3A quarterfinals at the state baseball tournament. “Their team fought to the end and I’m sure they are proud of the way they played. Our team did also and we came out with a W,” Assumption coach Bill Argo said. The Knights led 7-1 before the Cyclones rallied. Harlan’s rally ended when the tying run was thrown out at the plate to end the game. “The throw was up the line a little bit and I think we kind of hesitated coming around third,” Harlan coach Steve Daeges said. He said he was proud of the way his team battled back.

A pitcher’s duel featured the Algona Bulldogs and Sergeant Bluff-Luton Warriors in the Class 3A state quarterfinals Tuesday night at Principal Park. The Warriors scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning and claimed a 2-1 victory. Cody Selig pitched a three-hitter and struck out 13 for second-seeded SBL. Weston Shaw pitched a five-hitter and struck out 10 for seventh-seeded Algona.

A pitcher’s duel and great defensive plays by both teams added up to a fantastic final Class 3A quarterfinal-round game Tuesday night at Principal Park. When it was over – and it took nine innings – sixth-seeded Dallas Center-Grimes posted a 3-0 win over third-seeded Fairfield.

The Mustangs got just one hit in the first eight innings, but pushed across three runs in the top of the ninth on one hit, one error, two walks, a stolen base and a sacrifice fly.


State baseball tourney opens with a no hitter

Senior Cole Jackson tossed a no hitter and struck out 15 batters as top ranked North Polk beat Maple Valley/Anthon-Oto 7-1 in a class 2A quarterfinal. Jackson says he tried to stay calm and not think about a no hitter during the game. “I checked the scoreboard very inning, but mainly to check my count. I just keep my focus up there, I didn’t really look at the hits as much, I just wanted to know what the count was,” Jackson says. “It turned into a fairy tale in the 7th inning there. I was like ‘Holy Cow’ we actually have this going on.”

Maple Valley/Anthon-Oto used two errors and a wild pitch to score their only run in the fifth inning.

Fifth ranked Roland-Story scored two runs in the first inning and two more in the second to down eighth rated South Winneshiek 4-1 in a class 2A quarterfinal round game. Roland-Story coach Chris Hill thinks tournament experience benefited his team. He says everything went really quick last year and now this year they are more prepared for what is happening and more relaxed.

South Winneshiek coach Ben Oberman is happy the seniors got to experience the state tournament. “It’s tough to say good-bye to them because they got us here for the first time in school history. They’ve paved the way for the next couple of years,” Oberman says.

Behind a four-run second inning, Dyersville Beckman Catholic began defense of its Class 2A title at the 2014 state tournament with a 6-3 victory over Hinton in the quarterfinals at Principal Park on Monday night. Second-ranked Van Meter rallied past Iowa City Regina 2-1


State baseball tournament gets underway

Second ranked Mason City Newman took advantage of two walks and a hit batter to score three runs in the opening inning enroute to a 7-1 victory over #7 BGM (Brooklyn) in the class 1A opener at the state high school baseball tournament.

The Knights are the defending 1A champs and coach Tony Adams feels that experience was an advantage. Adams says a demanding regular season schedule helps the Knights when they get to the state tournament.

BGM pitcher Zac Freese settled down after the first inning and only yielded five hits. The Bears hurt their own cause by committing five errors.

Upset featured in 2A softball semifinal

McKinley Moore’s two run triple capped a three run second inning as fifth ranked Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont stunned top ranked Highland (Riverside) 6-2 in a class 2A semifinal.”I was just looking for a good solid pitch to hit to get my confidence up and get going on what I know I should be doing since I haven’t been hitting too well,” Moore says.

The Rockets had 12 hits as they advance to the 2A title game. “We came into the whole tournament just knowing we are going to do this,” More said.

Highland hurt its own cause by committing five errors in losing for just the second time this season. “It’s never happened, I don’t know how to explain it, it didn’t happen all year, that’s probably the most errors we’ve had in a game this year. We’ve been beaten once…it just didn’t fall into place for us,” Highland coach Carrie Wieland says.

Taelor Williamson led off the bottom of the seventh with a solo homer to center as second ranked Earlham edged third rated Woodbury Central 3-2. The Wildcats had tied the game by scoring two runs in the top of the seventh. “It was amazing, I let that ball go by and they scored so it made me nervous, but after I hit it it felt real good,” Williamson says.

The Cardinals take a 30-4 record into the championship game.

Two years ago Lansing Kee was a struggling program. Now it is a win away from a state championship. The Hawks posted their second straight upset in class 1A. This one was a 3-1 victory over fourth ranked AGWSR. “Hard work can do anything, these girls have worked so hard,” Kee coach Elizabeth Hill says.