A regional final between Independence and Cedar Rapids Xavier is projected, but nowhere near a given.
“I think our region is wide open. There are a lot of good teams,” Washington (Iowa) softball coach Ben Obermann said. “Five teams, maybe six could come out of here.”
Marion Coach Scott Fruehling is on board with that theme.
“It’s a matter of who is playing well at the right time,” Fruehling said. “If we put it all together, we can be as dangerous as anybody.
“We’ll see who shows up. I’m excited about our chances.”
Regionals begin Thursday in Class 4A and Class 5A. Marion (21-17) hosts Clear Creek Amana (12-21) in one 4A Region 5 first-rounder; Washington (22-14) hosts Iowa City Liberty (18-20) in the other.
Fifth-ranked Independence (28-11) and No. 10 Xavier (24-15) earned first-round byes and join the fray Saturday.
Fruehling has reason for optimism, both for the present and the future. Marion’s starting lineup features four freshmen and three sophomores.
Ten of the Indians’ 17 losses have been by two runs or less.
“We’ve been right there in just about every game we’ve played,” Fruehling said.
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Liberty is in its second year of existence, and at 14-14, was competitive in its first year in the Mississippi Valley Conference. The Lightning feature junior Brylee Klosterman, a University of Iowa commit who is batting .488.
“They’re a very impressive team,” Obermann said. “They might be better than their numbers show.
“If we’re going to string together a run, we’ve got to play clean defensively.”
Two area 5A teams begin postseason action Thursday. Cedar Rapids Washington (2-36) is at Waterloo West (5-31), and Iowa City West (15-25) hosts Davenport North (11-19).
West has won 11 of its last 20 games after a 4-16 start.
Thursday's 5A regional quarterfinals
All games 7 p.m.
Cedar Rapids Washington (2-36) at Waterloo West (5-31)
Davenport Central (7-22) at Davenport West (16-20)
Davenport North (11-19) at Iowa City West (15-25)
Thursday's 4A regional quarterfinals
All games 7 p.m.
Waterloo East (5-35) at Decorah (18-11)
Waverly-Shell Rock (5-26) at Mason City (16-21)
Clear Creek Amana (12-21) at Marion (21-17)
Iowa City Liberty (18-20) at Washington (22-14)
Maquoketa (10-26) at Western Dubuque (18-18)
Clinton (8-26) at Dubuque Wahlert (21-19)
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