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5 Gazette area Iowa high school baseball games to watch this week as track season ends
Williamsburg hosts Mid-Prairie in a top-10 2A matchup
State track has concluded and some baseball programs will welcome back regulars that competed over the weekend. Here is a look ahead to some noteworthy matchups this week.
Tuesday: Dyersville Beckman at Dubuque Wahlert
Any time two Dubuque County teams take the field fans are in for a doozy. This season is no different. Both teams won 25 games a year ago. Beckman was a state semifinalist in Class 2A and opened the season ranked fourth by the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association. Wahlert received the No. 6 spot in the preseason poll.
The Golden Eagles are 4-3 with sweeps of Cedar Rapids Washington and Dubuque Hempstead, losing twice to an Illinois foe. Beckman is 2-3 but shares athletes with other sports. All three Blazers losses have come to 3A teams.
Wednesday: Linn-Mar at Iowa City West
Iowa City West Coach Charlie Stumpff and Linn-Mar Coach Kyle Rodenkirk are true baseball guys down to their core. Both have competitive teams annually.
The Lions are 2-3, sweeping Cedar Falls (received votes in preseason rankings) before losing a tough one-run game to Benton Community. Matthew Buse is leading Linn-Mar with five hits in as many games.
The Trojans opened with a close loss to 3A No. 2 Marion and split with 3A No. 3 Cedar Rapids Xavier before edging Muscatine. Senior pitcher Nate Anderson has earned two wins already for West.
Thursday: Independence at Solon
The Mustangs qualified for the 3A state tournament last year and begin this season ranked No. 8. Independence is 1-0 with an impressive 10-1 victory over Waverly-Shell Rock, a team on the verge of the top-10 rankings. The Spartans have had a rough start, getting swept by Bettendorf and losing to Muscatine by two.
More than the team matchup, individual standouts highlight this Wamac doubleheader. Independence’s Mitch Johnson tied for second in 3A with 11 home runs last season. Solon’s Brett White batted .482 with seven home runs and 14 doubles in 2022.
Thursday: Clear Creek Amana at Benton Community
The Clippers have a bit of a rebuilding year, losing some key players to graduation. They opened with a win over Iowa City Regina. Jack Downes had a home run and three RBIs and Kaden Phan had two hits for CCA.
Benton is averaging nearly 11 runs a game, posting a 5-0 record after the first week. Cael Kaestner and Ryan Finn have five hits and seven RBIs apiece, while Lane Kaestner has five hits and five RBIs. Bobcat pitchers have combined for 41 strikeouts in 28 innings. Benton mercy-ruled Marshalltown in both games of a doubleheader and has a 4-3 victory over Linn-Mar.
Friday: Mid-Prairie at Williamsburg
A top-10 matchup in 2A. The Golden Hawks were state semifinalists last season, winning 19 games. Williamsburg reached the district semifinals and won 24 games in a tough multi-class Wamac.
Mid-Prairie started the season ranked second. Williamsburg is sixth and is 1-1. The Golden Hawks (2-1) have wins over Regina and Davenport West with their lone loss coming to 4A No. 3 Johnston. Williamsburg has a win over West Marshall and fell to 4A No. 8 West Des Moines Valley. Mid-Prairie’s Karson Grout is batting .400 with four hits and Dylan Henry comes in at a .429 click with three singles.