Regina Sweeps Tipton in Long-awaited Home Opener

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Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – Jake Koolbeck didn’t have to wait long for his first win at Regina.

Koolbeck got career victory number one in the Regals’ second game of the season last month.

The wait for a home victory was a significantly longer one for the first-year head coach.

After 16 consecutive games away from home Regina returned home in grand fashion on Tuesday with a doubleheader sweep of River Valley Conference South Division foe Tipton.

Class 2A seventh-ranked Regina won the opener 12-0 in four innings and took the nightcap 10-1 to improve to 11-7 on the season and 8-1 in RVC play.

“It was nice to be at home and not be on a bus,” Koolbeck said. “It was a test early but it’s nice to be home.”

Regina was impressive from the outset in its home opener.

The Regals scored in the first eight innings of the doubleheader highlighted by a six-run first inning in the opener.

“We haven’t had a home game and I was antsy to get back out here,” Regina junior center fielder Jess Hunter said. “We’ve had long bus rides and energy is always better at home.”

Hunter was 4-for-5 with a home run and four RBI in the doubleheader sweep as Regina pounded out 18 hits in two wins.

With back-to-back double digit run totals on Tuesday the Regals have now scored 10 runs or more three times during their current four-game winning streak that started with a sweep at Mid-Prairie on Monday.

“Regardless of who we play its nice to come out and hit the ball well and score some runs,” Koolbeck said. “I’ve told our girls since day one we don’t care who is in the other dugout we are just going to try to play Regina softball and hope it turns out in our favor and the last couple of days we have played some Regina softball.”

Regina got rolling early in its first home outing of the year.

Hunter had two singles in the six-run first inning in the opener as Regina sent 11 batters to the plate.

A two-run, two-out single by Hunter capped the first-inning outburst.

“I feel like compared to last year we are hitting a lot better and we are seeing the ball better,” Hunter said. “I think we can get better as the season keeps going.”

That was all the offense Regina starter Katie Bracken would need.

The junior right-hander tossed a two-hit shutout over four innings allowing just a pair of two-out singles in the first and third innings.

Bracken struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.

“I felt good today,” Bracken said. “I was just trying to focus on getting it by them. I wasn’t worried about throwing my changeup or anything I was just trying to hit my spots.”

Regina tacked on a run in the second and put the game out of reach with four more in the third.

Mary Catherine Graff sparked the four-run fourth with a solo home run to right center, her first of the season.

Regina didn’t let off the gas in game two, scoring three runs in the first inning thanks to RBI singles by Bracken and Taylor O’Connor.

A two-run homer by Hunter to right center in the third put Regina up 8-1 and Graff added an RBI single in a two-run fourth that made it 10-1 Regina.

Eight different Regals had a hit in game two led by Lauren Marth who went 2-for-2 with two RBI.  

Bracken and Hunter each drove in two runs in the nightcap.

“This definitely gets our confidence up and we were able to get everyone on the field and get some good experience,” Bracken said. “We’ve taken care of business the last two nights.”

Paisley Gardner got the win in game two allowing one run on three hits while striking out 10 in a complete game.

Gardner didn’t allow a hit after a two-out single by Kamryn Chapman in the second inning.

Game 1

Tipton             000 0  –   0    2   2

Regina            614 1  –  12  10  0

W – Katie Bracken     L – Morgan Wendel

HR – ICR: Mary Catherine Graff

Game 2

Tipton             100  000  0  –   1   3  0

Regina            332  200  x  –  10  8  0

W – Paisley Gardner               L – Allison Nash

2B – ICR: Paisley Gardner; TIP: Laken Hermiston

HR – ICR: Jess Hunter