A look at the Class 1A state baseball tournament field, with teams arranged by seeding. Two games begin today at Principal Park in Des Moines, with two on Saturday:
Mason City Newman (35-3) — The top-ranked Knights are a state powerhouse and aim for their third consecutive title. Their seven championships are fourth-most in state history and they are 33-15 all-time in the state tournament, with their win total second only to Davenport Assumption. This year’s team is an offensive juggernaut, as its 41 home runs are the most among all four classes. Josh Fitzgerald (15) and Evan Paulus (13) each have more than 10; the Knights’ .360 batting average is second in the field only to Don Bosco.
Alburnett (32-5) — The third-ranked Pirates are middle-of-the-pack in both hitting and pitching, but have just one loss since June 11, including two wins over Class 2A state qualifier North Linn in that span. The pitching staff has 301 strikeouts, which are second in the 1A field. Ace pitcher Keaton Parker is 12-2 with 118 strikeouts and just 21 walks in 82 1/3 innings. Reed Stallman and Parker each bat over .440. Alburnett is in the state tournament for the first time since 2006 and seeks its first win.
Martensdale-St. Marys (34-6) — The second-ranked Blue Devils have been a mainstay at the state tournament this century, with 12 of their 16 appearances since 2002. M-SM has won four state titles and is in the tournament for the second year in a row. The Blue Devils have played 16 games decided by three runs or less. Pitcher Isaac Gavin is 11-0 with a 1.17 ERA.
Don Bosco (28-4) — The sixth-ranked Dons lead the field in hitting (.408) and ERA (2.03). Cael Frost and Fischer Ohrt are the lone players to be hitting over .500 among 1A competitors, and Ohrt has 20 doubles. Bryce Schares is 9-1 with a 1.94 ERA, though the Dons have two undefeated pitchers who have won at least four games each. Don Bosco posted a 31-0 win over Collins-Maxwell July 13. This year marks the third time in four years the Dons are in the state tournament.
Coon Rapids-Bayard (29-4) — Five of the ninth-ranked Crusaders’ six state tournament berths have come since 2001. They’ve lost just once since June 8, and carry a seven-game winning streak into the state tournament after topping No. 5 Southeast Warren in a substate final. Coon Rapids-Bayard has the worst batting average of any of the 1A qualifiers, but ace pitcher Kade Schlepp has been outstanding at 5-2 with a 1.15 ERA, 52 strikeouts and just eight walks.
Remsen St. Mary’s (26-7) — The Hawks, who finished the season ranked 10th, have won six consecutive games and routed eighth-ranked Kingsley-Pierson in the substate final. They hit .323 as a team, and the pitching staff has about a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio as it has allowed the fewest walks of any 1A team (74). Sophomore pitcher Blaine Harpenau may be the best in the 1A tournament, as he’s 14-0 with a 0.36 ERA, 154 strikeouts and only eight walks in 78 1/3 innings. This is the 12th state tournament trip for the school, and third straight. The Hawks have won four state titles.
South Winneshiek (29-9) — The Warriors, along with eighth-seeded Pekin, are the only two unranked teams in the field. They’ve won nine games in a row, capped off by a win over No. 7 St. Ansgar in the substate final. What they lack offensively they make up for on the mound, as they boast a 2.09 ERA with 270 strikeouts and just 82 walks. Pitchers Jaron Todd (7-3) and Ethan Luzum (11-3) both sport sub-2.00 ERAs and have done most of the legwork this season. South Winneshiek’s only other state appearance was in 2014.
Pekin (17-8) — The Panthers have been road warriors all postseason, winning all their games either on the road or neutral sites. They’re coming off the biggest win in school history in an upset over No. 4 Calamus-Wheatland, as pitchers Tanner Bainbridge and Caleb Comstock combined on a no-hitter against an elite offensive team. Pekin is the only team in the field making its state debut, and has defied odds by peaking at the right time. Though the Panthers have a solid .323 batting average, the pitching staff’s ERA is the highest in the field by almost a run, which could make a difference. Pekin is the only team not to play at least 30 games.
By the numbers
State tournament schedule
11 a.m. — (4) Don Bosco (28-4) vs. (5) Coon Rapids-Bayard (29-4)
1:30 p.m. — (1) Mason City Newman (35-3) vs. (8) Pekin (17-8)
11 a.m. — (2) Alburnett (32-5) vs. (7) South Winneshiek (29-9)
1:30 p.m. — (3) Martensdale-St. Marys (34-6) vs. (6) Remsen St. Mary's (26-7)
Average — Cael Frost (DB), .530; Fischer Ohrt (DB), .506; Tanner Bainbridge (P), .487; Reed Stallman (A), .465; Keaton Parker (A), .446.
Doubles — Frost (DB), 20; Stallman (A), 14; Merritt McCardle (MC), 14; Parker (A), 13; Max Burt (MC), 12; Caleb Comstock (P), 12.
Triples — Carson Elbert (MSM), 5; Stallman (A), 3; Blaine Harpenau (RSM), 3. Six others tied with 2.
Home runs — Josh Fitzgerald (MC), 15; Evan Paulus (MC), 13; Frost (DB), 6; Burt (MC), 5; Bainbridge (P), 5.
RBI — Paulus (MC), 58; Jacob Schutt (MC), 50; Stallman (A), 47; Parker (A), 47; Frost (DB), 46; Burt (MC), 46.
Runs — Fitzgerald (MC), 72; Hunter Caves (A), 59; Austin Huber (A), 55; Cole Cassady (MSM), 55; Frost (DB), 53; Paulus (MC), 53.
Record — Harpenau (RSM), 14-0; Isaac Gavin (MSM), 11-0; Quentin Culbertson (CRB), 9-0; Christian Cook (CRB), 9-0; Doug Taylor (MC), 7-0.
Strikeouts — Harpenau (RSM), 154; Keaton Parker (A), 118; Noah Tieskoetter (SW), 78; Ethan Luzum (SW), 71; Cook (CRB), 70.
ERA — Harpenau (RSM), 0.36; Lewis Havel (DB), 0.55; Cole Cassady (MSM), 1.12; Kade Schlepp (CRB), 1.15; Gavin (MSM), 1.17.
Average — Don Bosco, .408; Mason City Newman, .360; Martensdale-St. Mary’s, .345; Alburnett, .340; Remsen St. Mary’s, .323; Pekin, .323.
ERA — Don Bosco, 2.03; South Winneshiek, 2.09; Martensdale-St. Marys, 2.28; Alburnett, 2.36; Coon Rapids-Bayard, 2.42.