The big secret is out now that the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union has announced the regional pairings for softball.
Creston will host a 10-11 Carroll team in the Class 3A Region 8 opener at 7 p.m. on July 11.
Dallas Center-Grimes awaits the winner of that game, while Glenwood and Lewis Central square off in the opener on the other half of the bracket, with Harlan awaiting the winner of that game.
But, like Creston head coach Mike McCabe said Monday, people shouldn’t let that 10-11 record fool them.
“I’m thrilled we get to play a home game and we’ll be against an awfully good opponent,” McCabe said. “Better not let a 10-11 opponent mislead you. They play Winterset, Dallas Center-Grimes, Carlisle and Ballard two times each year. They’ll have seen as good as there is. They’re a good hitting ballclub. They’re probably thrilled to death with the pairing. But, certainly a game we’re capable of winning.”
A win in that regional opener for the Panthers, and the road to state doesn’t get any easier, as Class 4A No. 6 Dallas Center-Grimes waits.
DC-G hosts the winner of the Creston and Carroll game at 7 p.m. on July 13. The regional final game is also held in Dallas Center at 7 p.m. July 16.
The Panthers play the Fillies at their home classic on Friday, and McCabe said now that the pairings have been released, that will probably affect how he strategizes Friday’s game.
Of the six teams in Class 4A close to the Des Moines metropolitan area, McCabe expected to be placed in a regional with two of them. But, Creston ended up drawing just Dallas Center-Grimes in its bracket.
“I knew they were going to keep DC-G, Winterset, Carlisle, Indianola, Norwalk and Ballard and keep those teams separate,” McCabe said. “I understand that, those are all pretty highly-rated teams.
“I feel a little sorry for the Hawkeye 10,” McCabe continued. “I think we’re a little better than what we’re given credit for. I think we’ve proven in regular season play, our top teams can play with anybody. And here you’ve got Harlan, Glenwood and Lewis Central on one side of a region, so we kind of knock each other out. In 3A, Clarinda and Shenandoah play each other right away. I just kind of feel bad for the conference teams in that respect. That’s kind of the way it is, kind of the way it goes sometimes.”
Mount Ayr and Nodaway Valley meet each other in the Class 2A Region 7 opener, 7 p.m. on July 9 in Greenfield.
The winner of that game advances to take on Central Decatur in Leon at 7 p.m. on July 10. The team advancing from that second round game would move on to play in Urbandale at Des Moines Christian at 5:30 p.m. on July 12.
The regional final is 7 p.m. July 15 at Ogden.
Other teams in Class 2A Region 7 include West Central Valley, Woodward-Granger, Des Moines Christian, Panorama, Kuemper Catholic, Van Meter, Prairie Valley, Ogden and No. 4-ranked Fort Dodge St. Edmond.
Region 7 in Class 1A is loaded with area teams.
East Union takes on Bedford in the Region 7 opener at 7 p.m. on July 8, with the winner of that game advancing to take on Murray at 7 p.m. July 10 in Murray.
Corning hosts Villisca on July 8, while Lenox hosts Orient-Macksburg that same day. Both games start at 7 p.m.
The winners of those two games meet each other at 7 p.m. July 10 in Lenox, with the winner moving on to face the winner of the second round game in Murray in the regional semifinals, which takes place at 7 p.m. July 12 in Murray.
The bottom half of the bracket pits Mormon Trail against Lamoni, with the winner taking on Wayne, and Seymour against Southeast Warren, with the winner advancing to play No. 1-ranked Martensdale-St. Marys.
The regional semifinal in the bottom half of that bracket takes place in Martensdale. The regional final is 7 p.m. July 15 in Winterset.