By Becky Walz,
For the first time since 2004, the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s summer baseball championships will be conducted at two separate sites with Carroll’s Merchants Park and the University of Iowa’s Duane Banks Field serving as hosts.
The 2021 IHSAA State Baseball Tournament is scheduled for July 26-31, with Class 2A and Class 1A in Carroll from July 26-29, and Class 4A and Class 3A in Iowa City from July 28-31.
Next month’s schedules and sites were approved by the Board of Control last week. The one-year plans are pending formal approval by the City of Carroll and the University of Iowa.
“The last 15 months have been filled with changes and constantly-evolving plans, and this tournament is no exception,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said. “We’re excited to have two high-quality hosts in Carroll and the University of Iowa where our student-athletes can make memories and compete for state championships.”
Principal Park in Des Moines served as the state tournament venue from 2005 through last summer.
Conflicting dates with new Minor League Baseball schedules as announced by Major League Baseball caused a change for 2021, and the IHSAA has not yet determined sites or details for baseball’s future state tournaments.
“We greatly appreciate the work of the Iowa Cubs and Principal Park staff over the last 16 state tournaments, especially with last year’s health protocols and late adjustments,” IHSAA assistant director and baseball co-administrator Todd Tharp said.
Carroll first hosted the IHSAA’s Class A State Baseball Tournament in 1970, and again in 1973. The summer event returned in 1995 as the tournament transitioned to an eight-team format, with two of the four classes playing at Carroll Baseball Stadium. The stadium has over 1,200 permanent seats and was renovated in 2011 and renamed Merchants Park, which was its title prior to 1965.
Next month’s state tournament will feature Class 1A quarterfinals on July 26, Class 2A quarterfinals on July 27, semifinals for both classes on July 28, and finals on July 29.
The large-school classes will travel to the eastern side of the state as the tournament arrives in Iowa City for the first time. Duane Banks Field, the on-campus home of the Iowa Hawkeyes, seats 2,300 spectators at 100 percent capacity and was most recently renovated in 2015.
Class 3A will open play in Iowa City with quarterfinals on July 28, followed by Class 4A quarterfinals on July 29, semifinals on July 30, and title games scheduled for July 31.
Further site-specific details will be shared through the State Tournament Central page as they become available.