Super-strong at the top. Better at the bottom.
That’s the Cedar Valley Conference, arguably the best Class 2A softball conference in the state.
“In the past, there were two or three teams in which you could pencil in a win,” said Iowa City Regina Coach Jon Prottsman. “You don’t see that any more.
“Tipton has made great strides, and North Cedar hits the ball pretty well. That adds to the mix a little bit.”
Then, there’s the four teams at the top. Half of the CVC is ranked in this week’s 2A top eight — Durant (14-3, 3-1) is fourth, Regina (11-4, 4-0) is fifth, Mid-Prairie (7-10, 2-2) is seventh, Wilton (12-4, 2-1) is eighth.
That doesn’t include up-and-coming West Branch (9-3, 2-2), which boasts a heavy-hitting freshman in Shannon Laing (.632, seven home runs and 30 RBIs in 12 games).
“A lot of people said when we lost (four schools to the Wamac Conference), there goes the softball power in this league,” Prottsman said. “The rest of the schools stepped up their level of play. The fundamentals and pitching have picked up.”
Regina’s strength is its seniors — pitcher Sara Kron (8-2, .257), shortstop Julia Hunter (.567, 3 home runs), catcher Kayci McChristy (.541), and outfielder Anna Corkery (.378).
The Regals edged Mid-Prairie, 4-3, on Monday, scoring on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh.
2 days: 16 teams, 32 games
West Delaware will host the 16-team Hawk Invitational Tournament Friday and Saturday at the Beckman Complex in Manchester.
The host Hawks are ranked No. 4 in Class 3A while Bettendorf is No. 3 in 4A. Those two teams are in opposite sides of the draw.
Play begins at 9 a.m. Friday. Each team will play four games in true bracket format. The championship game is scheduled for 5:45 Saturday afternoon.
IGHSAU: Pairings released Monday
A memo sent from the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union stated that regional pairings will be released Monday.
Regionals begin July 6 in Class 1A, July 7 in 2A and July 9 in 3A and 4A. Regional finals are July 13 in all classes, with regional champions advancing to the state tournament July 18-22 at the Rogers Sports Complex, Fort Dodge.
Anna Corkery, Cedar Valley Conference, Durant, IGHSAU, Iowa City Regina, Jon Prottsman, Julia Hunter, Kayci McChristy, Mid-Prairie, regional pairings, Sara Kron, Shannon Laing, Softball, West Branch, West Delaware Invitational, Wilton