A capsule look at tonight’s Iowa Class 4A Substate 5 championship game:
DUBUQUE HEMPSTEAD (29-10) VS. NORTH SCOTT (26-13)
Time — 5 p.m.
Site — Petrakis Park
Scouting Hempstead — The No. 6-ranked Mustangs, who earned the No. 1 seed in the substate after winning the Mississippi Valley Conference’s Valley Division for the second straight season, are playing for the 15th state baseball tournament appearance in program history. They reached the state semifinals last summer and also qualified for state in 2014 under head coach Jeff Rapp, who played in the 1988 state tournament while a senior at Hempstead. The Mustangs won state titles in 1974, 1978, 1983 and 1984. Hempstead has been ranked all season and peaked at No. 4. The Mustangs have won two straight after a late-season three-game losing streak. Kellen Strohmeyer set the school’s single-season hits record at 57 as Hempstead thumped Bettendorf, 10-0, in the opening round on Friday to earn a bye into tonight’s final. Hempstead outscored its opponents, 311-158, while hitting .325 as a team and posting a 3.75 team ERA. Strohmeyer leads the offense with a .422 average, and Logan Runde hits .414 while also leading the pitching staff with a 5-1 record and 44 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings.
Scouting North Scott — The Lancers, who finished second to top-ranked Pleasant Valley in the Mississippi Athletic Conference, have been unranked all season. They have made four trips to state, the last coming in 2018. North Scott has won five straight. The Lancers dispatched of Dubuque Senior, 13-3, in the opening round Friday, then outlasted Davenport West, 2-1 in eight innings, in the semifinal Monday. The Lancers have outscored opponents, 291-228, while batting .331 as a team and posting a 4.85 team ERA. Ryan Campbell leads the team with a .443 batting average, followed by Noah Young at .426, while Sam Skarich has gone 6-1 with a 2.75 ERA.
Outlook — The winner of tonight’s game advances to the eight-team state tournament next week at Duane Banks Field on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. In the last meeting between the two teams, Hempstead posted a 6-1 victory at Eldridge, Iowa, on June 17. In that game, John Cornelius drove in three runs, Strohmeyer had a pair of hits, and Lane Wels struck out nine in a complete-game four-hitter.