Region XI softball moved to Monday

Inclement weather conditions have once again pushed back the start of this weekend’s NJCAA Div. II Region XI softball tournament at Rogers Sports Complex.

Eighth-seeded Iowa Central (13-35 overall) will now battle No. 1 seed and third-ranked Kirkwood (48-3) at 2 p.m. here Monday on Field 1.

The tournament, which runs through Tuesday, will feature a modified first-round single-elimination format.

“(The weather) has been brutal, but it’s been the same for everybody all year and is nothing new,” ICCC head coach Josh Sandin said. “We’ll obviously have to play really well to beat Kirkwood, but anything can happen. Last year, we lost to the eighth seed in our opener (the then-No. 6 Tritons were knocked off by North Iowa Area in a 7-2 decision last spring).”

Entering postseason play, the Tritons have dropped eight straight games and 14 of 15 overall. In their previous meeting this year in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Central fell to Kirkwood by scores of 10-0 and 19-3.

“Especially being finals week, it’s nice that our girls can just show up and play,” said Sandin, who owns a 112-59 career mark in his three years at the helm. “We’re looking forward to it and have nothing to lose. I’m sure there will more Iowa Central people (at Rogers Sports Complex) than from any other team. We just have to come in and play loose every single inning.”

Kirkwood, which managed a perfect 28-0 ICCAC record during the regular season, boasts an impressive 41-game victory streak. The Eagles, who are averaging 9.2 runs per contest, have posted 29 shutouts on the year.

Monday afternoon’s winner advances to face either fourth-seeded Marshalltown (20-22-1) or No. 5 seed NIACC (14-18) later that evening at 6 p.m. on Field 1.