Four days without a game left Sarah Lehman feeling a little rusty entering Wednesday’s postseason opener.
That feeling of rust didn’t hang around for long.
Lehman struck out 11 in a two-hit shutout as Class 2A 10th-ranked Regina (21-14) rolled past Columbus 10-0 in five innings in a Region 6 quarterfinal at Regina.
In its first game since July 3, Regina scored six runs in the first inning to advance to Friday’s semifinal.
Regina will host ninth-ranked Wapello (24-6) on Friday at 7 p.m. after the Indians defeated Lisbon 7-3 in a quarterfinal on Wednesday.
“I felt a little out of practice because I only pitched a couple of times during that short break,” Lehman said. “It took me a little while to get going but once I did I felt pretty good.”
After a pair of groundouts to start the game, Lehman allowed a two-out single to right field by Claire Hamilton.
The sophomore was almost unhittable after that.
Lehman fanned 11 of the final 15 batters she faced while improving to 12-8 on the season.
The Regal offense took care of the rest.
Kennedy Brown hit a home run and drove in two runs as part of an 11-hit Regina attack.
“Our batting is alive right now,” Brown said. “We are hitting well and our pitcher, Sarah (Lehman), is on fire right now. I thought we played really well.”
Regina took the drama out of things early.
The Regals had five hits in the first inning and took advantage of a pair of Columbus errors while building an early lead.
No. 9 hitter Cammy Verducci provided the biggest blow with a two-out, two-run double into the right center-field gap.
“We have been doing a lot of hitting, a little more than normal, which I think has paid off,” Regina coach Jon Prottsman said. “The main thing is when they are at bat they are focusing better than they were before.”
Regina added a run in the second on Brown’s 12th home run of the year, a solo shot to straightaway center.
Brown extended her hitting streak to 18 games, going 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI.
“Actually at the beginning of this game we were all a little jittery because it felt like a really long time since we played a game,” Brown said. “After the first inning we really felt comfortable.”
Lehman, Verducci and Hannah Stein all had two hits for Regina while Madison Scott had an RBI double and Lauren Clapp had a hit and an RBI.
“We worked on hitting a lot during the last few days,” Lehman said. “I think that helped us.”
Regina has won 11 of its last 15 games and has scored more than five runs 11 times during that stretch.
“Their pitcher threw the ball pretty well I thought, she threw pretty hard and we still timed it pretty well and drove the ball,” Prottsman said. “That’s good for us to be doing right now.”
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.
Columbus…000 00—0 2 3
Regina…610 3x—10 11 0
W—Sarah Lehman. L—Kelsey Pretz
2B—Madison Scott, Morgen Goedken, Cammy Verducci (REG).
HR—Kennedy Brown (REG).