MUSCATINE - Burlington has been to the state softball tournament six times in program history, with last year's fourth-place finish in Class 4A serving as its most recent trip.
But Marshalltown, with nary a state softball qualifier banner to its name, has already done something the Greyhounds haven't: Beat Muscatine.
The Bobcats' 2-1 upset victory over 5A No. 3 Muscatine in Saturday's regional semifinals earned their place in tonight's 7 p.m. Region 5 finale against Burlington, while also proving to the Greyhounds (27-12) that there's more to Marshalltown than its 20-21 record.
Burlington tried twice one night in June to knock off the Muskies, falling 3-2 and 11-5 to the highest scoring team in 5A.
MHS also knocked off arch-nemesis West Des Moines Valley two weeks ago for the first time since 2001. Valley was ranked third then, too.
The Bobcats have gone with the same pitching tandem all season, with senior Taylor Vaske (13-10) and junior Lauren Mazour (7-11) pitching all but 1/3 of an inning. Vaske has both postseason wins, allowing two runs to Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the first round and just one to high-powered Muscatine on Saturday night.
Marshalltown's offense is led by junior catcher Taylor Wagner, who led the team in hits (57), runs (34), doubles (18), home runs (5), RBIs (24) and batting average (.463) entering the postseason.
Madi Bellile and Mazour both took six-game hitting streaks into the regional tournament as well.
Burlington's go-to player is senior Chandra McCampbell. In the circle, McCampbell is 15-5 with a 1.4 earned run average with 226 strikeouts in 144 2/3 innings pitched.
At the plate, McCampbell leads the Greyhounds with a .383 batting average and six home runs to go with 37 RBIs. Her batterymate, junior catcher Paige Zahner, is hitting .377 with six homers and team-highs of six homers, 40 RBIs, 18 doubles and a .669 slugging percentage. Burlington is hitting .316 as a team.
The first round of Class 5A state tournament play is July 17 at Harlan Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge.