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 4A NEWS AND NOTES
Rated and Ready: Six of the Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association top 10 teams in 4A have qualified. Leading the way is Johnston, top-rated and top seeded with a 34-5 record. No. 2 Iowa City West (33-7) is the number two seed with third-ranked Southeast Polk (30-13) claiming the fifth seed. Fifth-ranked Western Dubuque (32-9) is seed third. Dowling Catholic (30-11) is ranked sixth and claims the fourth seed. Defending champion Urbandale (28-14) finished the rankings in ninth and is the six seed.
Taking Care of Business at State: Johnston is 19-12 in 16 tournaments; Dowling Catholic is 19-14 in 18 tournaments; Ankeny is 13-10 in 12 previous trips; Iowa City West is 13-11 in 12 previous appearances; Urbandale is 12-10 in 13 previous tourneys; Southeast Polk is 6-2 in four tourney appearances; Western Dubuque is 4-4 in their first four trips; and Pleasant Valley is 1-3 in two tournaments.
Former Champs: Five teams in the field have taken home titles, with Dowling Catholic leading the way with five (1988, 89, 99, 2001, and 2011). Johnston has four (1977 1A and 4A crowns in 2008, 13 and 17); Urbandale has won three (2000, 07 and 18); Southeast Polk has won two (2014 and 15) as has Ankeny (1992 and 2012)
Top Winning Coaches: Three coaches in the field have 195 or more career wins led by Iowa City West’s Charlie Stumpff, who has racked up a 789-410 mark, which is 11th all-time and third among active coaches. He has directed five runner-up teams but is looking for that elusive state title. Western Dubuque’s Casey Bryant brings a career record of 529-265 to the tourney. Michael Barta has a 244-79 mark at Johnston. Dowling Catholic’s Mark Roering has a career record of 197-75.
Rookie Coaches: Making their state tournament debuts are Ankeny’s Joe Balvanz; Southeast Polk’s Dave Hartman and Pleasant Valley’s Derek Stecklein.
Coaching Trips and Titles: Charlie Stumpff is bringing his 11th Iowa City West team and 12th club overall to the tournament and is looking for his first title; Johnston’s Michael Barta’s sixth tourney team is aiming for a third championship; Urbandale’s Jeremy Heinen has his third team in the tourney in quest of a second championship; Casey Bryant is looking for his first title with his fifth Western Dubuque club.
Team and individual statistics through the substate tournament can be found on the
IHSAA QuikStats page