State SB Thursday Pleasant Valley 13

Pleasant Valley junior Alexia Lara delivers a pitch during Thursday's game against Urbandale. Lara and the Spartans meet top-ranked Waukee for the Class 5A state title Friday afternoon. 

CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette

Class 5A

Who: No. 1 Waukee (40-3) vs. No. 7 Pleasant Valley (34-8)

When: Friday, 12:27 p.m. 

Where: Rogers Sports Complex, Fort Dodge (Diamond 1)

TV: IPTV

Twitter: @mattcoss78

How they got here: Waukee beat Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson and Ottumwa by 11-0 and 4-0 counts, respectively, in regionals. At state, Waukee downed Dowling Catholic 3-1 and Cedar Rapids Kennedy 2-0. PV beat Davenport Central and Muscatine in regional action before knocking off second-ranked West Des Moines Valley 4-2 in nine innings and Urbandale, 2-1.

Waukee impact players: Sarah Schaefer, sr., P (25-0, 0.66 ERA, 148 1/3 IP, 178 Ks; .470 avg., 10 HR, 57 RBIs); Morgan Nealy, sr., DH (.459 avg., 11 2B, 11 HR, 64 RBIs); Delaney Taylor, so., OF (.447 avg., 13 2B, 29 SB)

PV impact players: Alexia Lara, jr., 3B/P (.484 avg., 12 HR, 50 RBI; 12-3, 1.50 ERA, 104 IP, 116 Ks); Carli Spelhaug, so., 2B (.463 avg., 14 2B, 28 RBIs); Ellie Spelhaug, jr., P (20-5, 1.33 ERA)

Quick hits: Waukee is after its second state title in three years. PV is seeking its first title but making its second consecutive championship game appearance. The Warriors defeated the Spartans 5-0 on June 30. Schaefer, Waukee's ace pitcher, allowed just one hit and struck out seven in that meeting. Schaefer fanned 10 in Thursday's semifinal. Waukee has won 17 of its last 18. The lone loss in that stretch was to Davenport West, 9-1. PV can become the first eastern Iowa school in 15 years to win the large class state title. North Scott was last in 2002. 

Class 3A

Who: No. 1 Assumption (43-1) vs. No. 9 Albia (30-8)

When: Friday, 7:09 p.m.

Where: Rogers Sports Complex, Fort Dodge (Diamond 1)

TV: IPTV

Twitter: @mattcoss78

How they got here: Assumption has scored at least nine runs in each postseason game, compiling wins over Williamsburg, Northeast, West Liberty, West Marshall and Center Point-Urbana. Albia beat Central Decatur (9-1), Centerville (4-1) and Solon (11-3) in regionals before upending Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (9-6) and Mount Vernon (5-2) in Fort Dodge.

Assumption impact players: Nicole Timmons, sr., P (24-0, 0.42 ERA, 19IP, 301 Ks); Hannah Kelley, jr., 3B/P (.417 avg., 13 2B, 57 RBIs; 19-1, 0.41 ERA, 120 IP, 108 Ks); Emma Valainis, sr., C (.430 avg., 14 2B, 8 HR, 51 RBIs)

Albia impact players: Jena Lawrence, fr., P (22-7, 1.84 ERA, 183 IP, 245 Ks); Hannah Isley, jr., 2B (.445 avg., 10 HR, 35 RBIs); Alex Beard, fr., C (.400 avg., 7 HR, 39 RBIs)

Quick hits: Assumption beat Albia in last year's regional final in Davenport, 4-0. Timmons struck out 11 in that contest. The Knights are in the state final for second straight year but looking for first championship. Assumption already has won state titles in girls track and girls soccer this year. Albia has just two seniors on its roster and its battery is comprised of freshmen — Lawrence and Beard. Lawrence averages around nine strikeouts a game. Seven of Albia's eight losses are to state tournament teams. The school is playing in its first state softball final. 

— Matt Coss

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Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.