Summer high school baseball started in 1946 making this year the 74th season for the IHSAA state summer baseball tournament, which has been in four classes since 1981. It is also the 92nd state tournament series that started in with the spring tournament in 1928. In the history of the summer tournament, 308 schools have qualified for the state baseball tournament. With games played at Principal Park, 179 schools have qualified. A total of 342 teams played this summer meaning 52 percent of the member schools will have played in Iowa’s best ballpark.
Principal Park: This is the 15th year for the four-class tournament at Principal Park. In the previous 14 years at Principal Park nearly 370,000 fans have supported their teams. Attendance since 1997 is over 545,000 going into this year’s games. The paid attendance through the first 14 years is 398,804 with the largest attended tournament coming in 2013 — 35,095. Seven of the 14 tournaments have attracted 30,000 or more paid admissions. Championship Saturday has generated 96,207 paid fans, with the largest being in 2005 — 9,181. Seven of the 14 crowds on Championship Saturday have topped 6,998 paid.
Play Ball: Through the 2018 state tournament, 1,142 state tournament games have been played. In the 14 years at Principal Park, 390 of the 392 state tournament weather has caused only two games to moved to area sites. The professional grounds crew of the I-Cubs led by Chris Schlosser have a sterling persistence of making sure Iowa kids have the best conditions possible.
State record correction: Due to an entry error, Bancroft St. John’s seven consecutive trips to the summer tournament (all under the late Gene Meister) was omitted. The trips (1982-88) place the Johnnies with the third-longest streak behind Newman Catholic’s 12 (in progress) and Harlan’s 8.
CLASS 1A NEWS AND NOTES
First Time Trip: Pekin (17-8) is making its inaugural appearance in the Tournament. The Panthers blanked fourth-rated Calamus-Wheatland, 7-0, for their golden ticket.
Ready and Rated: Six the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association top 10 are in the 1A field. Top-rated and top seeded Newman Catholic (36-3) is appearing for 23rd year (an all class record) and a state-best 12th straight time. The Knights enter the tourney with a 17-game win streak and has lost to only one 1A team, dropping a 5-3 decision to Saint Ansgar on June 5. No. 2 ranked and third-seeded Martensdale-St. Marys (34-6) is making its 16th state trip. Tenth-rated Remsen St. Mary’s (26-7) has qualified for the 12th time. The Hawks boast a roster that does not have a senior. No. 6 ranked and fourth-seeded Don Bosco (28-4) is in the tourney for the ninth time. The Dons, with a 15-game win streak, have lost only once in 1A — to Janesville, 5-3 in early June. Ninth-ranked Coon Rapids-Bayard (29-4) is making its sixth pilgrimage to the tourney. The Crusaders have not lost to a 1A team. Third-rated and second-seeded Alburnett (32-5) is making just its second trip to the tournament and first since 2006. Four of the Pirates setbacks are to rated teams. They are seeking their first state tourney win. South Winneshiek (29-9) is also in the field for the second time and first since 2014. The Warriors bring a 9-game win streak to Des Moines.
Taking Care of Business at State: Newman Catholic has a state tourney slate of 33-15, best in 1A and second to Assumption’s 37-5 overall. The Knights have a six-game state tourney win chain. Martensdale-St. Marys has a 17-11 record in state tournament play, followed by Remsen St. Mary’s at 14-7. Don Bosco is 7-7.
Looking for First State Win: In addition to Pekin, Alburnett and South Winneshiek are also looking for state win number one and they meet in the quarterfinals.
Former Champs: Four of the teams in the field are former champions, led by two-time defending champion Newman Catholic with seven. Remsen St. Mary’s has four summer crowns with the last in 2016, while Martensdale-St. Marys also four golden trophies with the last being in 2012. Don Bosco has one title (1978) to its credit.
Top Winning Coaches: Five coaches in the field have 290 or more career wins. John Waddle of Coon Rapids-Bayard is the dean of the group with a 738-326 record, followed by co-coaches at Remsen St. Mary’s — Jim Wesselmann (659-261) and Dean Harpenau (368-163), Alburnett’s Ryan Stensland is in his fourth tournament and is 346-163 while Jon Fitzpatrick at Martensdale-St. Marys is 295-72.
Coaching Trips and Titles: Waddle, Wesselmann, Harpenau and Fitzpatrick are making their sixth state appearances and Newman Catholic coach Alex Bohl is in his fifth state tournament. He directed the Knights to three of their titles — 2015 as a co-coach and each of the past two seasons. Harpenau and Wesselmann teamed up to deliver Remsen St. Mary’s its 2016 crown.
Rookie Coaches: Coaching in their first state tournament are: Joel Schares of Don Bosco; Pie Reighard, Pekin; and Alex Smith, South Winneshiek.
Team and individual statistics through the substate tournament can be found on the
IHSAA QuikStats page