Waukee softball has been one of the best in Class 5A over the past five seasons, with four trips to the state tournament, three top-three finishes and two trips to the state finals. But on Tuesday night, the Warriors entered their regional final as an underdog.
Johnston, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, was the favorite to win the Region 3 Finals – not only because of his 32-4 overall record entering Tuesday’s contest, but also because the Dragons had won three of four games this summer against this same Waukee team.
These warriors had other plans.
A 2-RBI triple from Ella McGee and a 2-hit performance from pitcher Lily Rand led Waukee to a 2-1 win over the mighty Dragons and secured the Warriors’ berth in the State Softball Tournament. class 5A next week at Fort Dodge.
Three other schools in metro Des Moines — Waukee Northwest, Southeast Polk and Valley — also secured berths in state tournaments on Tuesday.
Waukee, now 25-14 overall this summer, caused the biggest upset of any Class 5A Regional Final on Tuesday night by knocking out the No. 2 Dragons — not just by seeding, but also by these recent results.
Johnston and Waukee shared their first doubleheader this season in mid-June, with the Warriors winning one game, 6-5, and Johnston winning the other, 13-1. The Dragons then blew over Waukee in their final two regular season meetings, sweeping a late June doubleheader by scores of 15-8 and 13-1.
In that late June meeting, Johnston had 31 hits and 28 runs. The Dragons improved to 29-3 while Waukee fell to 21-13. That night, a gap between these two teams was evident.
Since then, Waukee has won four of five, with the only snag being an 8-3 loss to No. 7 Southeast Polk just before the playoffs started. The Warriors beat Dowling Catholic 5-0 last week to reach the regional final, then edged Johnston on Tuesday.
Waukee will be the lowest-ranked 5A team at Fort Dodge next week and will open the state tournament against the top-ranked hometown Dodgers, returning 5A state champions who also reached the final. Status in 2020.
More Regional Class 5A Softball Results and Ratings
Here’s a look at Tuesday night’s other Class 5A Regional Finals:
- freshman school Northwest Waukee defeated Council Bluffs Lincoln 14-0 and heads to the state tournament. Senior Reagan Bartholomew went 2 for 3 with a triple, a home run and 5 RBI.
- Fort Dodge edged Ames, 3-1, thanks to Tory Bennett’s 2-RBI double in the second inning and another gem from pitcher Jalen Adams: 13 strikeouts and one hit allowed in 7 innings.
- West Valley of the Monks hit Iowa City High, 13-1. The Tigers scored 7 runs in the second inning and another 6 in the third, and are heading to the state tournament for the 16th time in the last 19 years.
- Southeast Polk won a topsy-turvy match against Ankeny, 4-3. The Rams led 3-0 early, then Ankeny tied it 3-3 in the fourth, then Southeast Polk regained the lead in the fifth. Rookie Jesslyn Stairs went 2 for 2 with a home run and 2 RBI.
- Linn Mar upset the other in Regional 5A action, beating fifth-place Ankeny Centennial 9-4. The Jaguars led 4-2 after the fifth inning, then Linn-Mar scored 7 in the sixth to win.
- Pleasant Valley scored 3 runs in the fifth inning and 3 more in the sixth to beat Cedar Rapids Prairie, 7-3. Sophomore Mary Paige Withers went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs.
- Muscat crossed Iowa City Liberty, 9-1. Maura Chalupa struck out 8 in 6.2 innings and Brylee Seaman went 1 for 3 with 3 RBIs.
Class 5A State Softball Pairings
The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released the Class 5A state tournament pairings Tuesday night.
Here they are in full. The action begins Monday morning at the Harlan Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge.
- #1 Fort Dodge (35-6) vs. #8 Waukee (25-14), Monday, July 18, 11 a.m.
- #4 WDM Valley (26-13) vs. #5 Southeast Polk (25-12), Monday, July 18, 11:30 a.m.
- #2 Muscatine (35-4) vs #7 Pleasant Valley (26-12), Monday, July 18, 12:30 p.m.
- #3 Waukee Northwest (32-7) vs. #6 Linn-Mar (36-4), Monday, July 18, 1 p.m.
Class 4A Softball Regional Results and Ratings
The Class 4A softball regional finals also went down Tuesday night, setting the stage for next week’s state tournament at Fort Dodge. Many Central Iowa teams were among the winners.
Here is an overview of what happened:
- #3 Dallas Center-Grimes 10, Bishop Heelan 1 – Sophomores Aubrey Johansen and Macee Reiling both hit home runs as the fillies dominated Bishop Heelan.
- #6 Indianola 12, Glenwood 2 – Indianola rookie Izzie Benge struck out 9 over 5 innings while Kiley Kindelspire went 4 for 4 with a double and 5 RBIs and Selia Becker and Hanna Graham homered.
- #2 SMA 5, Carroll 4 – Addison Banse homered and recorded 3 RBIs while second Cameran Smith allowed 2 hits and struck out 5 of 6 innings. ADM scored the game winner on a throwing error.
- #5 Carlisle 5, #10 Bondurant-Farrar 4 –Laney Schick’s single sends the Wildcats back to the state tournament in a game where it was 3-3 after the first inning and 4-4 midway through the seventh.
- #1 Winterset 4, #13 Fairfield 3 –Jena Young hit her 20th homer as the state lead and the Huskies have never trailed en route to a berth in a state tournament.
- #4 Norwalk 7, #14 Benton 6 – Benton scored 5 in the fifth to go up 6-2, then Norwalk scored 5 in the seventh to retire and win.
- Burlington 1, #7 Clear Creek-Amana 0 (10 hostel) – Burlington stunned the CCA in extras to reach state for the first time since 2011. Sophie Brown hit a first bunt single, stole the second with two outs, then scored on a pitching error.
- #8 North Scott 5, Maquoketa 0 – Maddy McDermott struck out 9 and allowed 1 hit in an all-game effort for the Lancers.
Class 4A State Softball Pairings
The IGHSAU also released Class 4A state tournament pairings on Tuesday. The action will follow Monday’s Round 5A games at Fort Dodge:
- #1 Winterset (34-4) vs. #8 Burlington (20-13), Monday, July 18, 3 p.m.
- #4 Norwalk (29-7) vs. #5 Carlisle (27-10), Monday, July 18, 3:30 p.m.
- #2 ADM (32-4) against #7 North Scott (28-10), Monday, July 18, 4:30 p.m.
- #3 Dallas Center-Grimes (33-6) vs. #6 Indianola (27-12), Monday, July 18, 5 p.m.
Regional Class 3A softball results and grades
The Class 3A softball regional finals also wrapped up Tuesday night. Here is an overview of the winners with highlights from each game:
- #14 Sioux Center 8, #5 Estherville Lincoln Central 3 — The Warriors scored 4 points in the second to upset the fifth-place Midgets. Tatum Schmalbeck went 2 for 3 with a double, a triple and 3 RBIs.
- #6 Saydel 11, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 2 –Saydel advances to the state tournament for the first time since 2007 after Dakota Lake struck out 10 over 7 innings and Dakoda Wright hit a home run.
- #1 Mount Vernon 5, Algona 2 – A 4-run fifth inning elevates the top-ranked Mustangs to the state tournament.
- #3 Williamsburg 7, Atlantic 0 – Peyton Driscoll struck out 13 and allowed 2 hits in 7 innings. Rylee Vercande had a solo shot and Elle Ridgeway went 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBIs.
- Ballard 8, #4 West Liberty 1 – The Bombers knocked out No. 9 Roland-Story and No. 4 West Liberty to win Region 5 and reach the State Tournament.
- #2 Assumption of Davenport 9, Sumner-Fredericksburg 0 – The Knights outscored their three regional opponents by a combined total of 32-0. Bella Nigey and Leah Maro combined for perfect play in the circle. Nigey struck out 10 in 5 innings.
- Wahlert Catholic 8, West Delaware 7 – Wahlert scored 5 in the sixth to turn a 6-3 deficit into an eventual 8-7 victory and advance to statehood for the first time since 2009.
- #10 Davis County 3, #7 West Burlington-Notre Dame 2 – Davis County is heading to the state for the first time.
Class 3A State Softball Pairings
The IGHSAU also released the Class 3A state tournament pairings on Tuesday. First-round matches will be split between Monday night and Tuesday morning next week at Fort Dodge:
- #1 Mount Vernon (33-4) vs. #8 Dubuque Wahlert (23-16), Monday, July 18, 7 p.m.
- #4 Saydel (31-4) vs. #5 Davis County (23-8), Monday, July 18, 7:30 p.m.
- #2 Davenport Assumption (34-8) vs. #7 Ballard (16-20), July 19, 11 a.m.
- #3 Williamsburg (32-10) vs. #6 Sioux Center (22-9), July 19, 11:30 a.m.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.