FORT DODGE, Ia. – In tight postseason games, it’s the little things like hustle plays that can make the difference.
Hustle and dominant pitching.
Sarah Lehman struck out 12 in a three-hit shutout and Kennedy Brown turned a hustling double into the go-ahead run as Regina edged No.14 Cascade 2-0 in the Class 2A title game at Rogers Sports Complex.
“The little things win games here at state, it’s a complete different game it’s like a second season so you have to focus,” Brown said. “You have to hustle you have to do the little things.”
Brown and the Regals did the little things on Friday, and Lehman took care of the rest.
The sophomore struck out the side in the seventh inning as 10th-ranked Regina captured its second state title in five years and first since winning the 2A crown in 2011.
Lehman improved to 17-8 and capped an impressive postseason with her second shutout in six postseason starts.
“Not just today, Sarah has been phenomenal all year,” senior Lauren Clapp said. “She is amazing, she really stepped up this year.”
The win was the seventh straight for Regina (26-14) and capped an impressive postseason run.
Regina won five straight games over ranked opponents on its way to the state title, a streak that included a pair of one-run 10-inning victories and a 4-1 semifinal win over top-ranked Fort Dodge St. Edmond on Thursday.
“Just to come here and prove ourselves is really great,” senior Madi Scott said. “Especially being doubted coming in we wanted to make an impression and we did that.”
Regina used three straight two-out hits to snap a scoreless tie in the sixth.
The Regals’ rally started when Brown’s pop up dropped in between a trio of Cascade fielders in shallow left field.
Hustling out of the box, Brown ended up at second on the play.
Three pitches later, Brown scored when she attempted a delayed steal towards third and the throw went past the Cascade third baseman.
“When she is on second base I have no qualms about what she does,” Regina coach Jon Prottsman said of Brown. “I tell her she is free to do what she wants to do when she wants to. I’m not going to try to coach her because she has the baserunning instincts, the speed and the judgment.”
Regina fed off Brown’s hustle.
Scott ripped a double off the left-center field fence and Lehman followed with an RBI single to left that scored Scott.
“That took a lot of pressure off of me as a batter so I just knew I had to start it over again,” Scott said of Brown’s run. “Kennedy got a run on the board for us and that was good momentum.”
The two-run cushion was more than enough for Lehman, who didn’t allow a hit over the final two innings.
Lehman allowed a two-out base runner in both the sixth and seventh inning, but ended each inning with a strikeout.
“I was nervous in the beginning and as soon as we got those runs I calmed down,” Lehman said. “I was relaxed the last few innings.”
Regina…000 001 0—2 5 0
Cascade…000 000 0—0 3 3
Sarah Lehman and Morgan Goedken. Lynsey Dolphin and Lisa Tucker.
W—Sarah Lehman (17-8). L—Lynsey Dolphin (12-5). 2B—Kennedy Brown, Madi Scott (REG).
2015 Class 2A All-Tournament Team
- Lynsey Dolphin, Cascade
- Madison Scott, Iowa City Regina
- Laura Kremer, Cascade
- Lauren Clapp, Iowa City Regina
- Amanda Lansman, Fort Dodge St. Edmond
- Jasmine Lawson, Durant
- Hannah Ausenhus, Central Springs
- Andrea Nulle, IKM-Manning
- Kennedy Brown, Iowa City Regina
- Lisa Tucker, Cascade
- Sarah Lehman, Iowa City Regina (Captain)