Cedar Rapids Jefferson softball coach Brian Erbe is rooting for all the other teams in the Mississippi Valley Conference to get better and better.
That may sound odd, but Erbe thinks stiffer competition from MVC teams would help the J-Hawks have a better chance of winning another state title in the years to come.
Jefferson lost to West Des Moines Valley, 6-5, in a consolation game at the state tournament Friday afternoon in Fort Dodge to finish fourth in the tournament after placing seventh in 2014 and fifth in 2013.
The third-ranked J-Hawks made a strong showing in Fort Dodge. They beat Linn-Mar, 6-3, in the opening round, then faced two of the best teams in the state and dropped one-run games on consecutive days.
Jefferson lost to second-ranked Johnston Thursday, 2-1, then lost to top-ranked West Des Moines Valley by a single tally Friday. The J-Hawks came close to beating a pair of elite teams, but fell a tad short both times.
Waukee played Johnston in the championship game Friday night in a battle of teams from the Central Iowa Metropolitan League, making this the 13th straight year a CIML team will win a state crown.
This year's state tournament featured No. 1 West Des Moines Valley, No. 2 Johnston, No. 5 Waukee, Urbandale and Ankeny from the CIML, which is loaded with outstanding clubs. Erbe feels they push each other to improve.