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 3A NEWS AND NOTES
Ranked and Ready: Five of the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association top 10 rated teams have qualified including the top four in order — Xavier (35-2 and top seeded); Assumption (31-4 and second seeded); Central DeWitt (31-2 and third seeded); and Marion (32-4 and fourth seeded). The ninth-rated Big Reds from Centerville (24-6) — last year’s 2A champion — are seeded sixth. Rounding out a solid field are fifth seed Bishop Heelan Catholic (29-10), the fifth seed; the number seven seed Boone (20-12) eliminated 10th-rated Ballard in the substate. Upstart ADM (13-17) shocked fifth-rated Harlan in the substate, and is in its fourth state tournament.
Taking Care of Business at State: Two-time defending champion Assumption is making its 17th trip and has the most state tournament victories and titles in any class 37-5 with 11 titles. This is Xavier’s seventh state trip and first since 2013. The Saints are 8-5 in state tourney games. It is also the seventh trip for Centerville who is 9-3. Bishop Heelan is making its 19th appearance and the two-time champion is 16-16 in state action. Boone is in its 12th tournament with a 7-9 slate. Central Dewitt is in its third state tourney and seeking to improve on a 1-2 record. Marion is 1-3 in three previous trips. ADM is seeking its first state tournament win.
Former Champs: Four schools have won 18 titles. They are: Assumption’s 11 titles have been in classes 4A, 3A and 2A (1982, 92, 93, 95, 99, 2004, 06, 08, 14, 17 and 18; Centerville in 1988, 2008 and 2018 (2A); Bishop Heelan in 2001 and 2005; Boone in 1965 and 1967.
Top Winning Coaches: Three of the eight coaches in the field have amassed 280 or more career wins. Marion’s Steve Fish tops the field with a 714-386 slate followed by Bishop Heelan’s Andy Osborne with a 377-255 record. Central Dewitt’s Shane Sikkema is 280-174
Rookie Coaches: Three coaches join the state tournament fraternity. Greg Thissen is in his first year at Assumption but no stranger to the state baseball tournament. The Knights former all-stater graces the IHSAA all-time season and career best lists for hits and RBIs which includes four in the 1999 3A title game. Xavier’s Dan Halter and ADM’s Jason Book also make their state debut also.
Coaching Trips and Titles: Centerville’s Ryan Hodges has his third Centerville team in the tourney and his 2A championship last year is the only one among the eight coaches. Bishop Heelan’s Andy Osborne has his sixth team in the tourney while Boone’s Charlie Eastlund and Marion’s Steve Fish bring their fourth team.
Team and individual statistics through the substate tournament can be found on the
IHSAA QuikStats page