At one point in early June, the Regina softball team went 13 days without a win.
The Regals were outscored 28-7 during the five-game losing skid that dropped their record to 6-7.
On June 22, nearly one month before Thursday’s Class 2A state semifinals, Regina’s record sat at a modest 10-10.
With the losses mounting, did the Regals ever lose faith that they belonged among the elite teams in Class 2A?
“Never,” senior first baseman Hannah Stein said emphatically Tuesday. “We never doubted ourselves.”
Regina’s 2-1, 10-inning win over eighth-ranked Durant in the quarterfinals state tournament on Tuesday showed what the Regals have believed all along — that despite having the most losses of all teams in the 2A state tournament — the Regals are a contender.
The Regals’ task gets even tougher with a semifinal matchup against top-ranked Fort Dodge St. Edmond (29-7) on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
However, after navigating a stout early-season schedule comprised mostly of larger classes, don’t expect No. 10 Regina (24-14) to play much attention to rankings.
“Everyone always looks at our record and overlooks us but we know most of our losses have come from bigger schools,” Stein said. “I don’t think we have a bad loss and we have some good wins against those teams so we know we can play with anyone in 2A.”
The early losses tell a tale for Regina.
Of the Regals’ 14 losses, all but one have come to opponents of larger classes.
It’s the late-season wins that speak volumes.
Since a 6-7 start to the season, Regina has won 18 of 25 games.
During that stretch the Regals own wins over a trio of state semifinalists in Dallas Center-Grimes (4A), Center Point-Urbana (3A) and Cascade (2A).
“Sometimes people say ‘wouldn’t it be nice to go to some tournaments sometimes and play some 3A and 2A schools and get our record up a little bit so it looks a little more impressive,’ ” Regina coach Jon Prottsman said. “I always say ‘no one cares what your record looks like at the end of the year.’ It’s how hard-nosed you’re playing at the end of the season.”
Regina is clicking on all cylinders heading into Thursday’s semifinal, having won five straight games.
Sophomore pitcher Sarah Lehman has been impressive during the Regals’ postseason run, allowing less than two earned runs and posting double-digit strikeouts in all four postseason starts.
“I think we are playing our best because Sarah is throwing better than anyone else right now,” Prottsman said.
Top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Fort Dodge St. Edmond has won eight in a row entering Thursday and have played their own tough schedule with six of their losses coming to ranked foes.
Senior Amanda Lansman tossed a two-hit shutout to lift the Gaels to a 3-0 win over Interstate-35 on Tuesday.
Lansman is 25-7 with a 1.81 ERA.
“We know they are going to be a challenge like every game here because everybody steps up their game,” Regina junior Kennedy Brown said. “We know that we can do it, we have confidence, they are going to be a good team, we are just going to have to get our bats rolling a little bit earlier.”
Class 2A State Tournament Semifinal
No. 10 Regina (24-14) vs. No. 1 Fort Dodge St. Edmond (29-7)
• When: Thursday, 11:30 a.m.
• Where: Mittera Field at Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge
• Stat Leaders: Regina – Kennedy Brown .478 BA, 12 HR, 41 RBI; Madison Scott .385 BA, 20 RBI; Sarah Lehman 15-8, 1.09 ERA, 218 K. Fort Dodge St. Edmond – Anna Yung, .432 BA, 40 Runs, 29 SB; Maggie Harvey, .409 BA, 4 HR; Amanda Lansman 25-7, 1.81 ERA, 181 K.
• About the Gaels: Fort Dodge St. Edmond returned to the state semifinals for the first time since 2010 with a 3-0 quarterfinal win over Interstate-35. The Gaels stole seven bases in the quarterfinal win and rank sixth in the state and second in 2A with 161 stolen bases on the season. Four different St. Edmond players have stolen more than 20 bases this season led by senior Jaci Stumpf’s team-high 40 steals.
• About the Regals: Regina knocked off River Valley Conference foe Durant for the third time this season to reach the state semifinals for the first time since winning the 2A title in 2011. Sarah Lehman continued her postseason dominance as she held Durant to two hits and one run in 10 innings on Tuesday. Lehman is 4-0 with a 0.66 ERA and has struck out 43 in 32 postseason innings.
• What to watch: Fort Dodge St. Edmond is 28-1 this season when it scores more than two runs and 1-6 when it is held to two runs or less. Regina has allowed more than two runs just one time in its last five games.