Top-ranked Durant Sweeps No. 8 Regina in RVC South Showdown

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Pat Harty

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – The Durant softball team is ranked first in Class 2A and Monday’s doubleheader sweep at No. 8 Regina showed why in overpowering fashion.

Junior Kamryn Meyer pitched a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts as Durant won the first game 4-0, while fellow junior Jenna Lawson allowed just three hits during a 4-1 victory in the second game.

“I thought we tried to execute our game plan, they were better than us today in the circle,” said first-year Regina coach Jake Koolbeck. “It’s great to see what that’s about because that’s the type of competition we want to see every day.

“I was happy to see a very good opponent, and I thought our defense and pitching did their job. We’ve just have to get the bats going.”

Durant combined to score all eight of its runs in the doubleheader in just three innings.

The first game was scoreless until the Wildcats finally recorded an unearned run in the fifth inning that came on a routine fly ball that was dropped in right field.

Durant then scored three more runs in the sixth inning on four hits against Regina starting pitcher Katie Bracken, who went the distance on the mound.

The Wildcats started quickly in the second game, scoring all four of their runs against Regina eighth-grader Emma Nibaur in the top of the first inning.

Nibaur surrendered five hits and recorded just one out before being replaced by senior Paisley Gardner, who would go on to pitch the rest of the game without allowing a run.

“Paisley was great tonight,” Koolbeck said. “We tell all of our kids to be ready at any moment for whatever we ask them to do.

“Our pitching coach was feeling good about our younger pitcher and we gave her the start and I think Durant was ready for her and got on her a little bit and our senior came in and did exactly what we needed. She got us out of the first and then she threw a great six innings. She kept us right in that game. If we could get the bats going, we were right there. I couldn’t be happier with what Paisley did for us tonight.”

Durant improved to 24-2 overall and 12-0 in the River Valley Conference, while Regina fell to 17-13 and 11-3 in conference play.

It would be easy to second guess Koolbeck’s decision to start an eighth grader against the top-ranked team in the state, but he tried not to do that after the game.

“Maybe a little bit, but when it comes down to it, I go with what I believe and I go with what my staff tells me and what we talk about,” Koolbeck said. “At the end of the day, if you can’t live with your decisions, you’re in the wrong profession because you don’t get them back.”

Koolbeck believes in Nibaur and is confident that she will bounce back.

“She’s got a great mentality, so she’ll be fine, she’ll be ready to get back out there tomorrow and she’ll be ready to go,” Koolbeck said. “We may talk a little bit about how she felt playing against the number one team in 2A.

“But she’s got a great attitude and is a hard worker. She’ll be fine come tomorrow.”

In addition to holding Durant scoreless over six innings, Gardner also had two hits and drove in junior Carrigan O'Connor in the sixth inning of game two for Regina's only run in the doubleheader.

“They were like just get ready and warm up, you have to make sure you’re ready because you don’t know what’s going to happen in this game,” Gardner said. “So I was prepared.”.

Game 1

Durant   000  013  0  –  4  7  0

Regina   000  000  0  –  0  0  3

Kamryn Meyer and Jada Rock; Katie Bracken and Maeve Dunne.

W – Kamryn Meyer         L – Katie Bracken

2B – DUR: Paige Werthmann

Game 2

Durant    400  000  0  –  4  10  0

Regina    000  001  0  –  1   3   0

Jenna Lawson and Brooklyn Bullard; Emm/a Nibaur, Paisley Gardner (1) and Nola Murhammer

W –  Jenna Lawson      L –  Emma Nibaur

2B – DUR: Mallory Warner, Paige Werthmann