GRINNELL, Ia. – Jenny Wick had a feeling.
After being held scoreless for four innings by Collins-Maxwell/Baxter starter Abbey Kahler, the Regina junior had a hunch the Regals were close to breaking through.
Wick helped make sure her feeling turned out to be right.
Wick had an RBI double in a five-run fifth inning as 10th-ranked Regina (23-14) advanced to the 2A state tournament with a 5-1 win over CMB in the Region 6 title game Monday at Grinnell High School.
“I’m pretty confident in our team’s batting. We work on it all the time and a lot of us put in extra time, so I had a feeling that at some time we would get it going,” Wick said. “It took some time, but we did that.”
Regina sent 10 batters to the plate and had six hits in the five-run fifth after managing just two hits combined in the first four innings.
Emily Bonnett and Madi Scott added RBI singles in the big inning that lifted the Regals to the state tournament for the second time in three seasons.
“I think once we went through the lineup, we started to figure out what we needed to do and what we needed to adjust,” Brown said. “Basically, the second time through everyone started to connect with her.”
All five of Regina’s fifth-inning runs came with two outs.
Lauren Clapp singled with one out and after a Cammy Verducci sacrifice bunt, Wick lined a two-out double off the left-field wall to score pinch runner Clare Dunn and even the score at 1-all.
“That was a big hit,” Brown said of Wick’s double. “I think it just changed the momentum of the game for all of us. After she got that, everyone had confidence and knew we could do it.”
Regina was just getting started.
Emily Bonnet gave Regina its first lead of the game with an RBI single to right field that scored Wick.
Kennedy Brown and Madi Scott followed with back-to-back singles to add another run and push the lead to 3-1.
“When we got the tying run I relaxed a little bit, then up 2-1 I felt pretty good,” Regina coach Jon Prottsman said. “I kept hoping it would keep going and going and it did, and that was good. We had one good inning, and she shut us down the other six, give her credit.”
Regina kept adding on.
After Scott’s RBI single the Regals added two more runs when CMB centerfielder Megan Ritter couldn’t handle Sarah Lehman’s fly ball into the right center field gap.
“Softball is a sport where if one person gets a hit, it’s just a chain reaction,” Wick said. “That’s what we did.”
Sophomore Sarah Lehman made the five-run inning stand up.
Lehman struck out nine in the complete-game win, allowing one run on six hits.
In three postseason starts Lehman has allowed just eight hits and four runs while striking out 31 in 22 innings.
“Sarah came through again for us and did her job again,” Prottsman said. “She has just been outstanding the last half of the year.
CMB took a 1-0 lead when Kahler drew a bases-loaded walk in the third.
Lehman avoided further damage when she struck out Payge Jurgens to end the inning.
CMB left runners on second and third in the sixth, left the bases loaded in the seventh and stranded 11 baserunners in the game.
“It was stressful,” Lehman said. “I was just trying to work on the batter.”
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.
Regina 000 050 0 – 5 11 0
CMB 001 000 0 – 1 6 2
Sarah Lehman and Morgan Goedken. Abbey Kahler and Abbey Appelgate.
W – Sarah Lehman
L – Abbey Kahler
2B – Jenny Wick (ICR).