Regina trailed 2-1 going into the sixth inning and had left seven runners on base. The Regals had been victimized twice by a pitcher-to-catcher-to-first double play with the bases full.
Resolute and undeterred, the Regals struck back. Megan Bonnett jump-started the offense and Hannah Stein came in in relief of her sister, Allison, to shut down North Linn, and the Regals won their 2A quarterfinal game 4-2 Thursday at Regina.
Defending Class 2A champion Regina plays at unranked Alburnett (28-13) at 7 p.m. today in the regional semifinal. Alburnett came from behind to beat Edgewood-Colesburg 8-5. In the other side of the bracket, West Branch travels to No. 1 Durant.
“It was very frustrating,” Nikki Becker said of the first five innings.
The Regals scored a run in the fourth on hits by Allison Stein and Katie Wick, an error and a Becker fielder’s choice grounder to tie the game at one. But North Linn first baseman Hillary Holub’s line drive home run to left gave the Lynx a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning.
In the fifth, the Regals (16-19) again got a runner as far as third but couldn’t get her in.
Bonnett led off the sixth inning thinking, “Just hit the ball,” she said. “Just hit it anywhere hard.”
She drove the ball into the left-center field gap, and it rolled to the fence for a double. Nikki Becker bunted to sacrifice, but pitcher Kylie Siddel threw high enabling Becker to reach and Bonnett to score the tying run.
“(Coach Jon Prottsman) was telling me to go. I couldn’t really see it,” Bonnett said.
Becker eventually reached third but wasn’t able to score leaving the game tied.
Meanwhile, Hannah Stein relieved her sister with one out and one on in the fifth.
Hannah was a strike machine the rest of the game. She struck out the first two batters she faced in the fifth. She set down the Lynx in order in the sixth, including the powerful Holub, and allowed only one harmless hit in 22/3 innings.
“I usually warm up like that, and I come into the game and struggle, so I usually don’t know what to expect,” Stein said. “I guess I was on tonight. My curve, that usually works, and my fastball, I could spot it pretty well.”
Sydnay Lehman led off the seventh with a single to left and was sacrificed to second by Hannah Stein. Katie Wick grounded out for the second out.
But Bonnett came up and again drilled a double to the fence in left center to knock in the go-ahead run.
“We just had to score some runs and hold them,” Bonnett said. “It was right down the middle. She wasn’t pitching inside or outside, so I was just looking for a strike.”
Up came Becker, and she singled to right to score Bonnett with an all-important insurance run.
“I was nervous,” Becker said. “We had a nice live hitting practice and that helped so much. Because she was one of those pitchers where you couldn’t watch the ball go around and it was just right there. So you’ve just got to make contact.”
If Regina’s softball team learned nothing else last year en route to a state championship (remember that 12-inning 9-8 win over Monticello in the regional final?) it learned that it’s never out of a game.
“We’re always in it. You have to play every out,” Stein said.
HR — Hillary Holub (NL). 2B–Megan Bonnett (R) 2, Jordan Hageman (NL). W — Hannah Stein. L — Kylie Siddel.