Prep Softball

Iowa state softball: More diamonds, fewer games at this year's tournament

Dodger, Veterans diamonds join Kruger, Iowa Central for the first 3 days

West Delaware's Macey Kleitsch pitches during last year's state softball tournament. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
West Delaware’s Macey Kleitsch pitches during last year’s state softball tournament. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

FORT DODGE — An uncommon softball season will conclude with an unconventional state tournament.

In an effort to enhance social distancing, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union has taken two key format changes for the upcoming week at the Rogers Sports Complex.

Instead of playing all winners’ bracket games on the traditional two diamonds, the tournament will be spread among four fields throughout the quarterfinals (Monday and Tuesday) and semifinals (Wednesday).

The Kruger Seeds and Iowa Central diamonds (more commonly known as Diamond 1 and Diamond 2) will host three games apiece through each of the first three days. Dodger Diamond and Veterans Diamond will host two games apiece Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

As always, Kruger Field will be the site for the championships (5A and 4A Thursday, 3A, 2A and 1A Friday). Iowa Central Field will host the third-place games.

The second major change is the elimination of consolation games, with the exception of the third-place games. First-round winners still are guaranteed three games, but first-round losers are one-and-done.

Other coronavirus-related items:

— Fans are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings when entering, exiting and moving around the complex.

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— Bleachers immediately behind home plate on Kruger Field and Iowa Central Field will be restricted for IGHSAU and media use. Other bleachers throughout the complex will be marked for social distancing. Fans are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets.

— The complex will offer select concession items.

Headed to the Hall

Erin (Doud) Johnson of Cedar Rapids Jefferson and Caitlyn Wnek of Clear Creek Amana are among the 2020 inductees into the IGHSAU Softball Hall of Fame.

Doud was a five-year starter for Jefferson (1993-97), helping the J-Hawks to a state championship as a senior. She lettered all four years at the University of Iowa and was a member of three teams that reached the NCAA tournament, including the 2001 squad that advanced to the Women’s College World Series.

Wnek (2008-12) played on CCA’s championship teams of 2009 and 2011, the latter of which went undefeated. That season, she batted .625 with a state-best 85 RBIs. At UNI, Wnek was a first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference selection in 2016 and is the school’s career leader in doubles.

Also honored will be Jodi Christensen of North Polk and Jordan Gronewold of Carlisle. The four will be inducted prior to the start of the Class 4A championship game Thursday.

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

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