The postseason for small-school Iowa high school baseball programs begins this week.
Class 1A will have two first-round district games Thursday with all 1A and 2A districts playing Saturday night.
The Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association released its final rankings for 1A and 2A Monday. North Linn and Alburnett lead the way for Gazette-area schools.
The Lynx close the regular season ranked second behind Wilton in 2A. The Pirates are third in 1A, following top-ranked Mason City Newman and Martensdale St. Marys.
The Tri-Rivers Conference is well represented again. After having two state semifinalists last season and three highly-rated teams, the conference has three teams in the top four of their respective class. Calamus-Wheatland is fourth in 1A.
“Tri-Rivers has been one of the best small-school baseball conferences in the state for a long time,” North Linn Coach Travis Griffith said. “You see many Tri-Rivers schools with postseason success because of the grind of conference play.”
The Lynx jumped back up to second after ranking third last week. Alburnett maintains its highest ranking of the season. Calamus-Wheatland can win the conference Monday with a doubleheader sweep of Clinton Prince of Peace. The Lynx went 23-3 in league play, while the Pirates are 24-2 with a chance to still move into a tie for first with a split between Calamus-Wheatland and Prince of Peace or win it outright with a Prince of Peace sweep.
Alburnett has won at least 27 games in five of the last six seasons.
“The key has been coming to the ballpark day in and day out and just focusing,” Alburnett’s Keaton Parker told The Gazette after a sweep of North Linn. “We are coming to the ballpark focused and locked in. I think we are a whole different team from the beginning of the season.”
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Not much changed overall. Iowa City West and Western Dubuque remain second and third, respectively, in the 4A rankings. Linn-Mar stays in the top 10, coming in ninth. Johnston keeps its stranglehold on the top spot in 4A.
Cedar Rapids Xavier continues to receive the No. 1 vote in 3A. Marion is fifth.
Dyersville Beckman is eighth in 2A.
1. Johnston (23-4)
2. Iowa City West (26-6)
3. Western Dubuque (25-6)
4. Urbandale (22-10)
5. Des Moines Roosevelt (22-5)
6. Southeast Polk (24-9)
7. Ankeny Centennial (20-9)
8. West Des Moines Dowling (20-10)
9. Linn-Mar (23-7)
10. Waukee (20-10)
Others receiving votes: Ankeny, Iowa City High, Mason City, Sioux City East
1. Cedar Rapids Xavier (28-2)
2. Davenport Assumption (23-3)
3. DeWitt Central (26-1)
4. Harlan (20-4)
5. Marion (23-5)
6. Gilbert (21-2)
7. Centerville (19-3)
8. Fairfield (20-4)
9. North Polk (20-4)
10. Ballard (19-5)
Others receiving votes: Glenwood, Grinnell, Oskaloosa, Sioux City Heelan
1. Wilton (22-2)
2. North Linn (34-4)
3. Dike-New Hartford (24-3)
4. West Lyon (24-0)
5. Van Meter (23-3)
6. Treynor (25-6)
7. New Hampton (25-6)
8. Dyersville Beckman (25-10)
9. Hinton (23-2)
10. Estherville-Lincoln Central (25-2)
Others receiving votes: Des Moines Christian, Mapleton MVAOCOU, Pocahontas Area, Underwood, West Marshall
1. Mason City Newman (26-3)
2. Martensdale-St. Marys (29-4)
3. Alburnett (27-4)
4. Calamus-Wheatland (27-3)
5. Southeast Warren (25-3)
6. Don Bosco (22-4)
7. Saint Ansgar (20-7)
8. Kingsley-Pierson (23-4)
9. Coon Rapids-Bayard (22-4)
10. Remsen St. Mary’s (20-7)
Others receiving votes: Anita CAM, Council Bluffs St. Albert, HLV, South Winneshiek, Wapsie Valley, West Fork