By Bob Bakken
Baseball: Urbandale, West Delaware Take State Titles
Iowa has crowned its state high school baseball champions for another summer. Finals in each of the four classes were held in Des Moines July 28 on the diamond of the Pacific Coast League's Iowa Cubs.
In Class 4-A, Urbandale scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to defeat Davenport Central, 4-2, and claim the state title. It was the J-Hawks' second state title and completed a 37-8 campaign. The Blue Devils finished 32-7.
In Urbandale's three-run fourth inning, Andrew Weeks led off with a walk, took second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a single by Austin Duede and a throwing error. A hit batter and a dropped fly ball with two outs led to two more runs.
In the Class 3-A final, West Delaware surprised Cedar Rapids Xavier 8-0 for the Hawks' claim to state title status. Junior B.J. Hermsen fired a two-hitter as the Hawks knocked off the defending 3A champs. It was West Delaware's 20th-straight win as it topped off a 39-3 season and their first state championship.
Xavier was making its third-straight 3A state title game appearance; finishing second in 2005 before winning it all last season. The Saints finished 33-9. Xavier entered the title game having outscored foes 25-0 at state and 58-1 for all tournament games this season. West Delaware hit one homer in all three tournament games and finished the season with 74 homers - second-best in state history behind Algona Garrigan's 90 in 1999.
In Class 2-A, Cherokee defeated Davenport Assumption, 5-4, to win the state title. The Braves, which had been top-ranked in the state since mid-season and were the top seed entering the tournament, won their first state crown in their third tournament appearance and sixth overall. Cherokee finished the year at 31-2.
Assumption finished the season 28-15 in seeking its second-straight state championship and eighth crown overall. In the contest, the Braves scored three runs in the third and took a 5-4 lead in the fourth on a walk, a wild pick-off throw to first and an RBI single by Tyler Jones.
And in Class 1-A, Iowa Mennonite School stopped Remsen St. Mary's bid for a state championship with a 10-0 finals win in five innings. IMS won the state crown in its first state tournament appearance and finished the year 28-3. Remsen St. Mary's, which had dispatched Lansing-Kee High 13-7 in the semifinals, completed state tournament play with a 25-9 record. Remsen St. Mary's was making its sixth state tournament appearance, having won three-straight titles in 1983 through 1985.
By the way, Iowa Mennonite School is the only school in the state which does not have a school mascot nickname.
Softball: Linn-Mar Rolls to Semifinals
The Iowa state girls softball tournament has reached the semifinal stage in three of the four classes and the finals stage in its small school division. Their state tournament is continuing this weekend at their longtime state championship home of Harlan Rogers Park in Fort Dodge.
The Class 4-A semis will have Linn-Mar against Pleasant Valley and West Des Moines Valley playing Ottumwa. Linn-Mar was an 8-0 winner in the first round over Des Moines Lincoln, while Pleasant Valley defeated Johnston 1-0 in nine innings in their quarterfinal game. Valley ousted Sioux City North, 11-5, and Ottumwa edged Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 1-0, in its quarterfinal game.
The Class 3-A Final Four will have ADM against Harlan and West Delaware facing Saydel. ADM defeated Cedar Rapids Xavier, 6-2, in the first round, Harlan derailed Chariton, 4-1, while West Delaware needed 10 innings to dispatch of Davenport Assumption, 2-1, and Saydel edged Storm Lake, 1-0, in the quarterfinals.
Semifinal games in Class 2-A have Solon against Treynor and North Polk against Akron-Westfield. Solon edged Pleasantville, 2-1, in the quarters, Treynor claimed a 10-0, six inning victory over North Butler, North Polk edged Durant, 2-1, and Akron-Westfield defeated Carroll-Kuemper, 15-5.
Class 1-A has already determined its finalists, as Highland defeated Sloan-Westwood, 4-1, and New London stopped Southwest Webster-Grand, 3-2, in 10 innings in Thursday's semifinals.
Finals in the four divisions are being played on Saturday in Fort Dodge.