Prep Softball

More teams means more MVC softball games in 2019

30-game league slate will mean fewer non-conference opportunities

Iowa City High first baseman Ella Cook (from left) pulls in a throw for an out just before Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Camryn Jeffords (42) reaches first base during their Mississippi Valley Conference softball doubleheader Tuesday. Next year, with the addition of Iowa City Liberty and Western Dubuque, the MVC will consist of 16 teams and league teams will play 30 conference games. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Iowa City High first baseman Ella Cook (from left) pulls in a throw for an out just before Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Camryn Jeffords (42) reaches first base during their Mississippi Valley Conference softball doubleheader Tuesday. Next year, with the addition of Iowa City Liberty and Western Dubuque, the MVC will consist of 16 teams and league teams will play 30 conference games. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Softball coaches in the Mississippi Valley Conference wanted a 22-game schedule. Athletics directors wanted a 30-game slate.

For the next two years, 30 it is.

The MVC expands to 16 teams at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year; Iowa City Liberty and Western Dubuque are climbing aboard. Cedar Rapids Kennedy athletics director Aaron Stecker confirmed the league will continue its current softball format, in which all teams will play doubleheaders against each other.

“It does cut down on some opportunities to play teams from outside the league,” Stecker said. “Some folks are OK with that, and some others aren’t. (The ADs) thought this would be a happy medium.”

Cedar Rapids Jefferson Coach Brian Erbe said the MVC coaches favored a 22-game schedule, in which teams would play varsity doubleheaders against teams within their division and JV/varsity twinbills against interdivision opponents.

“It would give us more flexibility in manipulating our schedules,” Erbe said. “Everybody likes to play teams from outside our conference.”

Cedar Rapids Xavier Coach Nikki Gahring said, “We’re definitely going to have to re-evaluate our schedule. We’ll have to get rid of something on our non-conference schedule.”

The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union allows a 40-game regular-season schedule, so MVC teams can play up to 10 non-conference opponents starting next year, down from their current 14.

That might mean one fewer weekend tournament, or dropping a couple non-conference doubleheaders.

Next year, the regular season will consist of eight weeks, so the MVC schedule will stay with the normal Tuesday-Thursday routine. In 2020, it will be a seven-week regular season, so five weeks will be Tuesday-Thursday, and the second and fourth week of June will be Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday.

Kennedy, PV headline weekend invite

Linn-Mar and Alburnett are co-hosts of a 16-team invitational tournament Friday and Saturday, and the field contains seven ranked teams.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy (20-3) and defending state champion Pleasant Valley (19-6) are ranked 1-2 in Class 5A and are in opposite sides of the bracket. Class 2A No. 1 Durant (20-2) is another top contender.

Action begins at 11 a.m. Friday at both sites. Weather permitting, all teams will play two games Friday and two Saturday.

The championship game is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. Saturday at Linn-Mar.

J-Hawks going retro

Cedar Rapids Jefferson will break out old-style uniforms Saturday for its 5:15 p.m. home game with New London.

It’s part of “Retro Night,” which will honor Jefferson’s state-championship teams of 1997 and 1998. Both of those teams went 55-2. The 1998 team was the Metro’s last championship squad.

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

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.