The learning has been difficult at times for the defending Class 2A softball champions.
No. 14 Regina continued its evolution Friday with a 10-3 win over Fairfield in the first round of the Clear Creek Amana Tournament at Pearl Field.
“We’ve had times we’ve struggled,” freshman Hannah Stein said, “but we’re getting better.”
The Regals only lost a handful of seniors to graduation off its state championship team, but that included three of the top four hitters, and their top pitcher.
“If you don’t have dominant leadership, it takes longer for the kids to come together,” Regina coach Jon Prottsman said. “We haven’t had anyone step forward and take charge. We had some girls that did that last year.”
Entering Friday’s game, no Regal had more than three doubles or 11 RBIs. The offense has been slow to develop.
“We’ve been having a lot of practice in hitting,” senior Sydnay Lehman said. “That’s what we’ve been practicing the most.
“People are stepping up.”
Against Fairfield (13-13), the Regals smacked 14 hits, with eight different players contributing.
Freshman Hannah Stein hit 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Lehman hit 2-for-3 with an RBI, sophomore Megan Bonnett hit 3-for-4 with an RBI, and sophomore Katie Wick had two singles.
“We haven’t hit the ball well a lot this year,” Protsman said.
“We’re trying to find consistency. It’s time.”
Regina (12-14) got behind 1-0 early against Fairfield on Friday. But Bonnett led off the bottom of the second with a single and beat the throw home on a grounder to shortstop by eighth-grader Jenny Wick.
Sydnay Lehman’s fly out to right field scored two Regals thanks to aggressive baserunning, and Stein made it 4-1 with an RBI single.
Regina made it 5-2 in the fifth inning when Stein doubled and came home on a Bonnett single. The Regals broke it open in the sixth with five runs on four hits and three errors.
Stein got the pitching win, and junior Allison Stein pitched the final two innings to close it out.
“We’ve got a target on our backs,” Hannah Stein said. “Teams want to beat us, and we play a pretty tough schedule. We know that.
“We know we are different than last year. We have to do our best.”
Regina lost to No. 6 Carlisle 6-1 on Friday night. Carlisle jumped out to an early lead scoring four runs in the first inning against Regina.
Hannah Stein had an RBI in the nightcap.
Alli Deao and Marisa Repp; Hannah Stein, Allison Stein (6) and Katie Wick. W – H. Stein (4-5). L – Deao (). 2B – Sydney Burnett (F), Makenna Ledger (F), Hannah Stein (R).