5 regional Iowa high school softball games to watch in the region on Friday

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A trip to Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge is the focus of area softball teams, and the regional route begins Friday with Class 2A and Class 1A first-round games. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Friday marks the start of the Iowa high school softball playoffs, with first-round games in Class 2A and Class 1A.

Here are five of the region’s best matches; all Friday games start at 7 p.m.

English Valleys (13-9) to North Mahaska (12-11)

Class 1A Region 8

North Mahaska picked up a 3-0 regular season victory on June 15, picking up a run in the fifth inning and two in the sixth. English Valleys senior Gwen Mews is regularly on base; she’s hitting .529, sports a .580 on-base percentage and leads the Bears with 27 points. Pitcher Kennedy Axmear had a superb sophomore year in all-around, highlighted by a Drake Relays disc title. She is 12-9 in the circle with 159 strikeouts. The winner is expected to play Highland (19-8) in the second round on Wednesday.

Iowa Valley (9-13) to Belle Plaine (13-12)

Class 1A Region 6

Belle Plaine is the only SICL team to beat league champion Sigourney. But the Plainsmen have lost three straight games, including an 11-5 loss to Iowa Valley on June 22. Senior Olivia Bohlen is hitting .388 with 34 runs and 20 stolen bases, and has only one error all summer. Senior pitcher Brenna Cook (12-9, 1.92 ERA) whipped up 155 batters. Iowa Valley has a pair of power threats in senior Grace Gunzenhauser and rookie Maddie Ray, who have seven homers between them. The winner will likely play Springville (20-13) in the second set on Wednesday.

Elkader Central (8-12) at Lansing Kee (16-14)

Class 1A Region 7

Kee High won a share of the Upper Iowa Conference Championship (with Turkey Valley). The Hawks have won 23 of the last 24 meetings with Central, including a sweep on June 22 by verdicts of 8-4, 18-1. Senior Reagan Mudderman isn’t a big girl, but packs a mighty punch. She has 19 extra hits, including six home runs, and is batting .513 with 47 runs. Central is riding a four-game winning streak. The winner will play at No. 15 Central City (31-6) in a second-round game on Wednesday.

BGM (5-16) at Springville (20-13)

Class 1A Region 6

Springville is the region’s best team assigned to play on opening night, and the Orioles are a dangerous team that own a split with No. 3 Lisbon, a one-point loss to top-ranked North Linn and a pair of 4-3 losses to No. 15 Central City. There are proven winners on this list who have regularly competed in state tournaments in volleyball and basketball. One of them, senior Morgan Nachazel, has five home runs and leads the Orioles with 27 RBIs. Juniors Ashlynne Zaruba and Nia Howard combined for 64 stolen bases. With a win, the Orioles would host either Iowa Valley or Belle Plaine in the second round on Wednesday.

Midland (9-26) at Edgewood-Colesburg (13-17)

Class 1A Region 7

Here are two teams bolstered by competition from the Tri-Rivers Conference, though their records won’t blow your mind. Ed-Co picked up a pair of regular-season wins over the Eagles, 16-5, 9-3, on June 7. Both teams have some offensive ability, averaging around five points each. Midland eldest Allison Paulsen ‘double the trouble’ for opponents; she leads the state with 24 two-base hits. Ed-Co scores more speed than power; senior Ella Aulwes stole 36 bases without getting caught. The winner goes to Calamus-Wheatland (16-16) for a second round on Wednesday.

Friday’s Full Regional Schedule

CLASS 2A FIRST ROUND REGIONAL

(All games, 7 p.m.)

Region 6

Starmont (4-18) at Denver (12-17)

Hudson (15-20) at Wapsie Valley (12-12)

Region 7

West Branch (3-21) to Camanche (7-16)

Danville (0-19) at Mediapolis (5-16)

Region 8

Bellevue (3-20) to Bellevue Marquette (6-20)

Postville (0-16) at MFL MarMac (8-25)

CLASS 1A REGIONAL FIRST ROUND

(All games, 7 p.m.)

Region 6

HLV (3-15) at Montezuma (9-16)

BGM (5-16) at Springville (20-13)

Iowa Valley (9-13) to Belle Plaine (13-12)

North Tama (2-17) at Janesville (4-19)

Garwin GMG (7-12) at Lynnville-Sully (13-18)

Region 7

Dunkerton (1-16) v East Buchanan (13-13)

West Central (5-20) at Turkey Valley (17-6)

Elkader Central (8-12) at Lansing Kee (16-14)

Midland (9-26) at Edgewood-Colesburg (13-17)

Region 8

Keota (0-18) at Tri-County (13-13)

Hillcrest Academy (4-18) at Highland (19-8)

English Valleys (14-9) to North Mahaska (12-11)

Winfield-Mount Union (7-9) at Fort Madison Holy Trinity (9-10)

New London (4-20) at Lone Tree (11-13)

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