Classification snafu works in Cascade's favor

Softball: Thought to be 3A most of the season, Cougars open 2A regionals Wednesday

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Until about two weeks ago, the Cascade Cougars thought they would be a part of the meat grinder that is Class 3A regional softball in Eastern Iowa.

“It’s stacked,” Cascade Coach Ken Weber said. “We were just hoping we could take care of business in the regular season, so (the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union) would push us north, away from everybody else, for regionals.”

Then, on the day in which regional pairings were to be released, IGHSAU officials discovered a whole-grade-sharing agreement elsewhere. Instead of being the smallest 3A softball progam, Cascade became the largest in 2A.

All those Eastern Iowa 3A heavyweights — Benton Community, Solon, Davenport Assumption and Mount Vernon, among them — they’re no longer the Cougars’ worry.

The Class 2A runner-up in 2015, No. 2 Cascade (31-5) opens its postseason at 7 p.m. Wednesday with a quarterfinal matchup at home against Clayton Ridge (6-15).

“Last year, I think people considered us a Cinderella story,” Weber said. “Now, we’re one of the teams everybody is coming after. We feel comfortable (with our draw), but it’s not going to be an easy road.”

Regional quarterfinals are Wednesday across the state in 3A, 2A and 1A. Even with Cascade’s drop to 2A, the area scene in 3A is a shark tank.

Last year’s 3A runner-up, Benton Community (37-2) has been rated No. 1 all season. The Bobcats are heavily favored to clear their first hurdle — at Van Horne against Aplington-Parkersburg (2-18).

Benton pitcher Amber Fiser is likely to earn her 100th career victory; the University of Minnesota signee is 99-15 in her career, including 89-7 in four seasons at Benton. She is 22-2 this season with a 0.29 ERA and 304 strikeouts (against 14 walks) in 147 innings.

Among the other area 3A powerhouses, third-rated Solon (29-9) — the defending champion — hosts Williamsburg (5-29) and No. 5 Mount Vernon (26-13) entertains South Tama (3-28).

Defending 2A champion Iowa City Regina (23-16), ranked seventh, opens its title defense at home against North Cedar (2-24).

In Class 1A, No. 2 Lansing Kee (29-6) battles the first-round victor between Riceville and Turkey Valley, and No. 3 Alburnett (30-7) hosts Tuesday’s winner between BGM and Montezuma and.

Regionals begin Thursday in 5A and 4A.

 

WEDNESDAY’S CLASS 3A QUARTERFINALS

(All games, 7 p.m.)

Region 3

South Tama (3-28) at Mount Vernon (26-13)

West Liberty (19-13) at East Marshall (15-14)

Anamosa (5-21) at Northeast (30-8)

Camanche (12-17) at Monticello (17-13)

Region 4

Mediapolis (10-10) at Davenport Assumption (35-4)

Central Lee (13-19) at West Burlington-Notre Dame (11-23)

Davis County (12-17) at Centerville (17-13)

Mid-Prairie (12-19) at Albia (12-17)

Region 5

Williamsburg (5-29) at Solon (29-9)

Nevada (3-20) at Roland-Story (10-19)

Iowa Falls-Alden (13-16) at Center Point-Urbana (20-17)

Gilbert (5-17) at Clarion CGD (9-10)

Region 6

Aplington-Parkersburg (2-18) at Benton Community (37-2)

Hampton-Dumont (15-7) at Union (22-13)

Waukon (7-19) at Dyersville Beckman (25-10)

New Hampton (12-17) at North Fayette Valley (24-12)

 

WEDNESDAY’S CLASS 2A QUARTERFINALS

(All games, 7 p.m.)

Region 4

West Fork (9-12) at Central Springs (31-2)

Lake Mills/Saint Ansgar winner at Mason City Newman (15-11)

Wapsie Valley (1-20) at Waterloo Columbus (27-9)

Sumner-Fredericksburg/South Winneshiek winner at Denver (16-7)

Region 5

North Cedar (2-24) at Iowa City Regina (23-16)

West Branch/Maquoketa Valley winner at North Linn (30-10)

Madrid (12-14) at Pella Christian (18-7)

South Hardin/South Hamilton winner at Woodward-Granger (20-10)

Region 6

Bellevue (7-21) at Durant (32-4)

Tipton/Wapello winner at Wilton (17-17)

Columbus Community (4-17) at Louisa-Muscatine (24-10)

Van Buren/Pekin winner at Highland (19-9)

Region 7

Clayton Ridge (6-15) at Cascade (31-5)

Starmont/MFL MarMac winner at Jesup (19-12)

Grundy Center (5-16) at Conrad BCLUW (26-8)

Hudson/Dike-New Hartford winner at West Marshall (22-13)

 

WEDNESDAY’S CLASS 1A QUARTERFINALS

(7 p.m. unless noted otherwise)

Region 3

Riceville/Turkey Valley winner at Lansing Kee (29-6)

Ed-Co/Dunkerton winner vs. Elkader Central/Janesville winner, at Janesville

West Central/East Buchanan winner at Central City (23-17)

Nashua-Plainfield/Clarksville winner vs. Tripoli/North Butler winner, at Allison

Region 4

BGM/Montezuma winner at Alburnett (30-7)

Iowa Valley/North Tama winner vs. English Valleys/Don Bosco winner, 5:30 p.m. at Gilbertville

Easton Valley/Bellevue Marquette winner at Lisbon (21-19)

Springville/HLV winner vs. Midland/Belle Plaine winner, at Belle Plaine

Region 5

WACO/Danville winner at New London (21-10)

Moulton-Udell/Cardinal winner vs. Twin Cedars/Moravia winner, at Moravia

Winfield-Mount Union/Iowa Mennonite winner at Calamus-Wheatland (23-10)

Tri-County/Lone Tree winner vs. Keota/Sigourney winner, at Sigourney

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

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