116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
If only they can duplicate their last performance.
That’s how the Kennedy Cougars feel. Then again, the Jefferson J-Hawks do, too.
“We had a tremendous amount of energy,” J-Hawks Coach Mike Kuba said. “A tremendous amount of focus.”
Cedar Rapids Jefferson (26-14) visits eighth-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy (27-9) in a Class 5A softball regional final Monday. First pitch is 7 p.m.
It’s one of six, or maybe seven, area games that will help fill out the state-tournament brackets.
Two other matchups were determined Saturday: No. 14 Cedar Rapids Prairie (28-13) is at No. 6 Iowa City High (32-7) in another 5A showdown, and No. 9 West Delaware (28-9) travels to Farley for a 4A battle with No. 2 Western Dubuque (31-7).
Four additional encounters were Monday.
Class 4A 10th-ranked Marion (26-11) already had a seat at the table. The Indians will travel to No. 8 Clear Creek Amana (28-9).
Also in 4A, Benton Community (22-18) visits Oskaloosa (21-14). The Indians knocked off No. 6 Norwalk 3-2 in 10 innings Monday.
No. 14 Iowa City Regina (18-12) completed its 2A regional semifinal at No. 3 Louisa-Muscatine (20-9) on Monday; play was suspended Friday with the score tied 5-5 in the sixth inning. The Regals went on to win 8-7 and will host Cardinal (17-13) Tuesday.
And in 1A, No. 4 Lisbon (34-8) will host Highland (22-6). The Huskies beat Winfield-Mount Union 1-0 in 14 innings Monday. That game was tied 0-0 in the sixth inning when rain halted them Friday.
Jefferson and Kennedy both were at their best Saturday. The J-Hawks topped 11th-ranked Iowa City Liberty, 9-2; the Cougars blanked Cedar Falls, 9-0.
“Both teams will be coming in excited,” said Kennedy Coach Maddison LeClere, whose team is the reigning 5A state champion. “We’ll be ready to go, and I’m sure they will, too.
“All season, we’ve talked about focusing on our dugout. Do what we do well.”
Which is ... ?
“When we’re on and focused, we play all aspects of the game well. When Jayme (Scheck) is on, our pitching is one of the best in the state. When we are selective at the plate, we hit our pitches. When we’re disciplined, we hit where the ball is pitched.”
Kennedy has advanced to state three of the last four years. A 24-time qualifier, Jefferson is after its first trip since 2018.
“They’ve been there before,” Kuba said. “Our kids haven’t. We can’t afford to look ahead, not even an inning or two ahead. We need to keep a narrow focus, keep the pressure off and have fun.”
City High swept Prairie earlier this season in a pair of two-run contests.
“I say all the time that you never know what’s going to happen,” Prairie Coach Alisha Frese said. “We had two close games with them earlier, and we’ve already seen both of their pitchers.”
Hawks catcher Jensyn Jones said, “We’ve got to keep our heads up the whole time, and I think we have a really good chance.”
Tuesday’s area softball regional finals
Cedar Rapids Jefferson (26-14) at No. 8 Cedar Rapids Kennedy (27-9), 7 p.m.
Both teams were extremely impressive in posting one-sided regional-semifinal victories. Defending 5A state champion Kennedy blasted Cedar Falls 9-0, scoring eight runs in the first three innings. Topanga Beauregard blasted two home runs, Mya Dodge added a homer and four RBIs and Jayme Scheck pitched a five-strikeout one-hitter. Jefferson, meanwhile, jumped on No. 11 Iowa City Liberty early and rolled, 9-2. Kelsey Palmer was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and scored twice, and four others collected two hits in the J-Hawks’ 14-hit parade. The Cougars and the J-Hawks split an opening-night doubleheader May 25. A UNI recruit, Dodge is having a monster season at the plate, hitting .476 with 13 home runs, 46 runs and 43 RBIs. Taylor Robinson is batting .482 with 13 doubles for the J-Hawks.
No. 14 Cedar Rapids Prairie (28-13) at No. 6 Iowa City High (32-7), 7 p.m.
After a modest 8-5 start, City High has been sizzling for the past month, notching 24 wins in its last 26 games. That includes a sweep at Prairie, 2-0 and 3-1, June 22. The Little Hawks disposed of Marshalltown 8-0 in the regional semifinals, and Prairie got an eighth-inning RBI single by Jade Hynek to outlast Linn-Mar, 2-1. City’s power has returned recently; the Little Hawks have 29 home runs this season, including eight each by Ella Cook and Carey Koenig. Cook has 58 RBIs, Koenig 52. Eighth-grader Lianna Hull leads the team in hitting at .517. Prairie has endured a late-season injury to leading hitter Alexis Barden, because hitters like Amaya Snyder (.482, 56 runs, 45 RBIs) have picked up the slack. Snyder is one of five Hawks that have reached double figures in doubles.
Benton Community (22-18) at Oskaloosa (21-14), 7 p.m.
Tuesday’s site is contingent on Monday’s result in the top half of the bracket. Norwalk would host Benton if it takes care of business. If Oskaloosa prevails, the regional-final site is to be decided. Either way, Benton is alive and well after scoring three runs in the sixth inning — two on a double by Sarah Gorkow — and edging Burlington 3-2 in the regional semifinals. Alyse Harvey leads the Bobcats at .418 and with 29 runs. Three different players have four home runs apiece, so there’s some pop there. A win would send Benton to state for the fourth time in seven years.
No. 9 West Delaware (28-9) at No. 2 Western Dubuque (31-7), 7 p.m.
Western Dubuque has the higher ranking and home-field advantage, but West Delaware is the team on a roll these days. The Hawks have won nine of their last 10 games, including a 6-4 win over Charles City in the regional semifinals. Sophomore Erin Mullen has developed into an effective, if not overpowering, pitcher. She is 22-7 with a 2.30 ERA. Alivia Schulte is hitting .455, and multisport standout Ella Koloc is at .419 with 47 runs and six homers. Western Dubuque led the MVC Mississippi Division for much of the season before sliding somewhat late. Still, the Bobcats have a strong 1-2 pitching punch in Sydney Kennedy (15-5, 1.68) and Meredith Hoerner (16-2, 2.32). Kennedy (.516) has clubbed 28 doubles and driven in 59 runs, while Sara Horsfield (.559) has scored 72 runs.
No. 10 Marion (26-11) at No. 8 Clear Creek Amana (28-9) , 7 p.m.
Clear Creek Amana will host the regional final if it handles DeWitt Central; if the Sabers pull the upset, the final moves to Marion. The Indians opened the season with a sweep of CCA (2-1 and 17-7) way back on May 24. Marion owns a four-game winning streak, including a 6-1 conquest of North Scott in the regional semifinals Saturday. Leadoff batter Peyton Johnson collected three hits and drove in three runs, and the Indians rallied from an early 1-0 deficit with two runs in the third and three in the fifth. Johnson is hitting .492 with 29 runs, 35 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.
Cardinal (17-13) at No. 14 Iowa City Regina (18-12), 7 p.m.
Regina and Louisa-Muscatine resume their regional final Monday; it was suspended Friday in a 5-5 sixth-inning tie. The winner earns home field against Cardinal, which already has knocked off two ranked teams — No. 11 Wapello and No. 15 Van Buren County — in its postseason run.
Highland (22-6) at No. 4 Lisbon (34-8), 7:30 p.m.
Lisbon is a win away from its fourth consecutive state berth (the Lions were third in 2018 and 2019, fourth in 2020) after blanking Central City 3-0 in a regional semifinal Saturday afternoon. Paige Roos made two stellar catches in center field and added a crucial two-run double in the sixth inning. The Lions match Newell-Fonda for the most wins of any 1A team. Peyton Robinson is hitting .418 with 56 runs, 37 RBIs and 20 steals. Ryleigh Allgood (27-4, 1.70 ERA) held Central City to two hits. Highland and Winfield-Mount Union were tied 0-0 in the sixth inning before concluding Monday.