After a dramatic Wednesday, 3A-2A-1A regionals resume

Softball: Solon survived an opening-round scare; Alburnett did not

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Her team avoided the softball drama that hit the area Wednesday night. But Robin Brand witnessed it second-hand.

“We went to Applebee’s after our game, and there was a Montezuma girl, and she was still all wound up,” said Brand, the coach at Mount Vernon. “It was kind of a crazy night.”

Montezuma upset Alburnett, the third-ranked team in Class 1A, in the regional quarterfinals. Williamsburg very nearly shocked 3A No. 3 Solon before the defending-champion Spartans escaped.

“It was an exciting game; Williamsburg played well,” Solon Coach Jim White said. “There were some things we didn’t handle really well, but we’ll move forward and work on them. Games like that aren’t much fun at the time, but it’s those games that help you grow.”

The postseason marches on Friday for Class 3A, 2A and 1A survivors with regional semifinals. Of the area ranked teams, 3A No. 5 Mount Vernon (27-13) probably faces the most strict test, at home against West Liberty (20-13).

“We’re going in with our eyes wide open,” Brand said.

The Mustangs handled South Tama, 6-1, in the first round for their fifth win in the last six games.

“Our conference is strong, and we played a lot of high-quality teams throughout the season,” Brand said. “Record-wise, it doesn’t do us any favors, but competition-wise, we’re ready to play anybody.”

Three of the top five 3A teams are from the Wamac. No. 1 Benton Community (38-2) hosts Union (23-13), and Solon (30-9) entertains Roland-Story (11-19).

“They’re a lot like Williamsburg, so it’s good to see somebody so similar again,” White said of the Norse. “We’ve got to do a better job making adjustments at the plate.”

Like the Wamac, the River Valley Conference is stacked. Northeast (31-8) is rated sixth in 3A, with Durant (33-4), Cascade (32-5) and Regina (24-16) Nos. 1, 2 and 7 in 2A. None of them play each other Friday, but none have a cakewalk.

Alburnett’s exit leaves No. 2 Lansing Kee (30-6) as the lone remaining ranked 1A team. Central City (24-17) hosts No. 11 North Butler (25-3), which has won 15 straight games, a stretch that includes 10 shutouts.

“They’re sort of a mystery to me,” Central City Coach Dave Johnson said. “Sometimes that’s OK.

“After our last regular-season game, we had four or five days off, and that gave us the opportunity to get some good practices. I think that showed on the field (in a 12-2 quarterfinal win over East Buchanan) Wednesday.”

FRIDAY’S CLASS 3A SEMIFINALS

(All games, 7 p.m.)

Region 3

West Liberty (20-13) at Mount Vernon (27-13)

Monticello (18-13) at Northeast (31-8)

Region 5

Roland-Story (11-19) at Solon (30-9)

Gilbert (7-21) at Center Point-Urbana (21-17)

Region 6

Union (23-13) at Benton Community (38-2)

New Hampton (13-17) at Dyersville Beckman (26-10)

FRIDAY’S CLASS 2A QUARTERFINALS

(All games, 7 p.m.)

Region 4

Mason City Newman (16-11) at Central Springs (32-2)

South Winneshiek (23-12) at Waterloo Columbus (28-9)

Region 5

Maquoketa Valley (26-14) at Iowa City Regina (24-16)

South Hamilton (19-11) at Pella Christian (19-7)

Region 6

Wapello (25-8) at Durant (33-4)

Highland (20-9) at Louisa-Muscatine (25-10)

Region 7

Jesup (20-12) at Cascade (32-5)

West Marshall (23-13) at Conrad BCLUW (27-8)

FRIDAY’S CLASS 1A SEMIFINALS

(All games, 7 p.m.)

Region 3

Janesville (19-20) at Lansing Kee (30-6)

North Butler (25-3) at Central City (24-17)

Region 4

Montezuma (14-12) vs. North Tama (18-10), at Brooklyn

Bellevue Marquette (24-14) vs. Belle Plaine (17-9), at Lisbon

Region 5

Moravia (19-9) at New London (22-10)

Sigourney (15-11) at Calamus-Wheatland (24-10)

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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