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Cascade faces West Liberty in rematch for state baseball berth
Comets topped Class 2A third-ranked Cougars in regular season
Cascade is looking for its first state baseball berth in seven years.
The Cougars will need to exact a little revenge to get there.
Third-ranked Cascade has a rematch with West Liberty in the Class 2A Substate 5 final Tuesday night at Durgin Baseball and Softball Complex in Clinton, starting at 7.
Cascade is 19-5 this season The Cougars are looking for their fifth state appearance and first since reaching the 2A semifinals in 2015.
Cascade averages 7.4 runs per game. Tanner Simon leads the way with 28 hits, a .400 batting average and a .506 on-base percentage. His 21 RBIs are second-best, trailing teammate Cade Rausch by three.
Cooper Hummel and Jack Carr are both 7-1 to highlight a pitching staff that owns a 1.93 earned-run average. Hummel has a team-best 57 strikeouts in just 35 2/3 innings.
In the regular-season meeting at West Liberty, the Comets (15-12) notched a 10-4 victory over the Cougars.
They tallied 11 hits, receiving two apiece from Colin Cassady, Ryker Dengler, Tyler Jones and Ryan Cassady. Jones paced West Liberty with two RBIs, while Dengler scored three times to lead all players. Colin Cassady and Drake Collins combined for a three-hitter.
West Liberty has played well in recent weeks. The Comets have won six straight games and 11 of their last 15, avenging losses to No. 9 Anamosa and Iowa City Regina. They are looking for their second state tournament appearance and first since a 4-3 loss to Dyersville Beckman in the 2002 state quarterfinals.
Cascade’s Dubuque County rival Dyersville Beckman (23-13) returns to the substate finals for the second straight season. The Blazers dropped a heartbreaker in a wild game with Camanche last year and now take on Jesup (20-6) for their first berth since winning the 2017 state title.
The J-Hawks’ hiatus has been longer. Their last state trip was in 2003, reaching the 2A semifinals.
Mid-Prairie (17-10) has its sights on its sixth state showing, reaching the quarterfinals in 2020. The Golden Hawks will face No. 6 West Marshall (28-8) in the nightcap of a 1A/2A doubleheader at Solon.
Sixth-ranked North Linn (30-2) will face Lynnville-Sully (24-2) in the 1A Substate 5 final, starting the doubleheader in Solon at 5 p.m. The Lynx had their four-year state tournament streak snapped last season, qualifying five times from 2015-20. North Linn was the 2A runner-up in 2019 and reached 2020 2A semifinals.
Lisbon and Lansing Kee are both looking for return trips to state. Kee was the 1A runner-up last season and picked up where it left off, posting a 36-3 record. The fourth-ranked Hawks take on South Winneshiek (22-8) at Decorah.
Kee advanced with a walk-off 3-2 victory over Janesville. The Hawks swept a doubleheader on June 20 against the Warriors, 10-4 and 12-2.
Lisbon (23-5) has been in and out of the rankings this season, bringing back everybody from last year’s state quarterfinal team. The Lions have their hands full with No. 5 Don Bosco (23-5). The Dons missed last year’s state tournament after winning the 1A title in 2020.
The two small schools met up on June 28 at Don Bosco. Lisbon escaped with a 9-8 victory in eight innings after the Dons built early 6-0 and 7-2 leads. Hunter Clark had two hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Lions in that game.
Tuesday’s winners moved on to the 1A and 2A state tournament July 18-22 at Merchants Park Stadium in Carroll.