THE CHAMPS ARE BACK IN TOWN
DES MOINES (July 24) -- Perhaps sophomore Brett Sears said it best following Harlan Community’s 10-2 substate win over Denison-Schleswig last Wednesday.
“We can kind of relax now, have a little fun and try to go do what we do at state,” said Sears, a third-year starter who has yet to end a varsity baseball season in anything but the 3-A state championship game.
HCHS returns to the State Baseball Tournament in Des Moines this week for the seventh consecutive year, extending a streak that ranks second in Iowa prep history. The Cyclones won the 3-A state title last year - beating Carlisle 12-4 in the finals - and were the 3-A runner-up in 2015.
Seniors Dillon Sears and Joshua Cheek will both be playing in their 10th state tournament game Tuesday when top-ranked HCHS (34-2) takes on Oskaloosa (28-13) in a 3-A state quarterfinal game at 7:30 p.m. inside Principal Park.
The Cyclones, who have earned the No. 2 seed in 3-A behind 2nd-ranked Davenport Assumption (38-5), have reached state for the 17th time in program history and are making their 15th trip in 24 years under head coach Steve Daeges.
Seventh-seeded Oskaloosa, meanwhile, is making just its second state tourney appearance all-time and the first since 1998 after knocking off Vinton-Shellsburg 2-1 in substate play.
Many of the Cyclone players have already developed a certain comfort level inside Principal Park. The Indian players’ experience in the stadium may very well be limited to watching a few Iowa Cubs games.
When it comes time for the first pitch on Tuesday night, all of that may not mean a thing, but Daeges is hopeful that tradition and big-game experience can give his team at least a slight advantage.
2017 State Baseball Tournament --- Scores, Pairings & Schedule
at Principal Park • Des Moines
Quarterfinal Pairings: Tuesday, July 25
11 a.m. - Assumption, Davenport (#1 seed, 38-5) vs. Bondurant-Farrar (#8 seed, 21-15)
1:30 p.m. - Wahlert, Dubuque (#4 seed, 26-15) vs. Marion (#5 seed, 31-10)
7:30 p.m. - Harlan Community (#2 seed, 34-2) vs. Oskaloosa (#7 seed, 28-13)
5:00 p.m. - Bishop Heelan (#3 seed, 31-12) vs. Saydel (#6 seed, 29-7)
Semifinals: Friday, July 28
Quarterfinal Winners play at 11:00 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. (TBD)
Championship Game: Saturday, July 29, 5:00 p.m.
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