WEST BURLINGTON — While Southeastern's surprising run to the Region XI Softball Tournament title may have broke the hearts of the hometown Indian Hills Warriors, it allowed one former area softball star to continue her junior college softball career. Former Centerville softball star Chelsey Banks helped the Blackhawks stun the four-team field this past weekend in Council Bluffs as the third-seeded squad from West Burlington went 3-0 in the double-elimination tourney.
Southeastern won three closely-contested games last weekend, shutting out Muscatine 2-0 in its opener before stunning three-time defending champ Iowa Western twice on its home field. After beating the Reivers 4-2 in the final game on Friday to move within one win of the tournament title, the Blackhawks won a 2-1 marathon in 11 innings over Iowa Western, which stayed alive in the tournament thanks to a dramatic walk-off 3-2 win earlier on Saturday against Indian Hills.
So far in her sophomore season, Banks is batting .276 with 29 hits, three home runs and 14 RBIs. In the regional tournament, Banks was 2-11 at the plate with an RBI.
Southeastern will travel to the Region 16 champion, Jefferson College, in Hillsboro, Mo. The best-of-three District J championship series will start tomorrow at 2 p.m. with a third game, if necessary, being played on Saturday. The winner will advance to the NJCAA Division I Softball National Championship held in St. George, Utah on May 14-17. Southeastern is 21-27 overall on the season.
Also getting underway tomorrow will be the eight-team Region XI Division II Tournament at Harlan Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge. Former Ottumwa Bulldog Sarah Wilson, a multi-time ICCAC Player of the Week, will join other former area athletes including Oskaloosa grad Mackenzie Gott and Twin Cedars grad Brook Dunkin on the fourth-seeded Marshalltown Tigers. After being pushed back a day due to weather, the Tigers will open the tournament against Ellsworth on Field 2 at 1 p.m.