Breaking Down the Area Softball Regional Finals

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Class 2A, Region 6

No. 10 Regina (22-15) at No. 9 North Linn (38-4)

When: Monday, 7 p.m.

Where: Troy Mills  

Player to Watch: North Linn sophomore Abby Flanagan has been one of the top pitchers in 2A this season posting a 24-2 record and .33 ERA with 270 strikeouts in 150 innings.

Key Stat: Katie Bracken has tossed 16 consecutive scoreless innings entering Monday’s regional final, allowing just five hits and striking out 21 during that stretch.

About the Lynx: North Linn owns the longest active winning streak in Class 2A at 17 in a row and has scored 10 runs or more eight times during the stretch.

The Lynx have put up impressive numbers while rolling up a state-leading 38 wins.

North Linn ranks fourth in 2A with a 1.02 ERA and has scored a 2A-best 383 runs an average of 9.1 per game.

In two postseason games North Linn has outscored opponents 22-1 and outhit opponents 16 to 4.

Abby and Grace Flanagan lead the offensive attack for North Linn combining for 12 home runs, 26 doubles and 113 RBI.

Kaitlyn Sommerfeldt is a major factor at the top of the order. The freshman is batting .465 and ranks second in the state with 62 stolen bases.

About the Regals: Regina has continued its tradition of playing its best softball when it matters most, bringing a five-game winning streak into the regional final.

The Regals have outscored opponents 41-1 during its current win streak that features four consecutive shutouts.

Of the 15 losses for Regina this season 10 have come to Class 4A or 5A competition with six of those losses coming against ranked opponents.

Junior Katie Bracken has been impressive in a pair of postseason wins, allowing three hits and striking out 12 in eight postseason innings.

Bracken enters with a 14-13 record and 2.94 season record and is also a .368 hitters with 20 RBI.

The Regals have six players hitting over .318 led by senior Paisley Gardner who is hitting .422 with a team-high 33 RBI.

Breakdown: It is state tournament regular Regina against first-time state tournament hopeful North Linn in a highly anticipated regional final.

Defending 2A state champion Regina is seeking a fourth consecutive trip to state after reaching the 2A title game each of the past three seasons.

North Linn is seeking its first ever trip to state as an exclamation point on what has already been the best season in program history.

Class 5A, Region 6

Linn-Mar (23-19) at City High (23-18)

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: City High  

Player to Watch: Senior Ariana Rolle serves as a catalyst at the top of the Linn-Mar lineup evidence by her two hits and three runs in a regional final win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy and a team-high .459 batting average.

Key Stat: City High ranks third in Class 5A with 120 extra base hits after pounding six extra base hits in a regional semifinal win over Cedar Rapids Prairie.

About the Little Hawks: City High has already set a record for wins during the 40-game era but can put an exclamation point on one of the top turnaround stories in the state with its first state tournament trip since 2001.

The Little Hawks started the season 16-8 before losing 10 of their next 13 games, a stretch that included five consecutive losses.

City High rebounded with three straight wins to close the regular season before pounding out 18 hits and matching its season-high run total in a 16-8 win over No. 15 Cedar Rapids Prairie in the regional semifinals.

A balanced City High lineup features six players hitting over .300 and four with at least four home runs led by freshman Carey Koenig who has eight home runs and a team-high 53 RBI.

About the Lions: Linn-Mar pulled off the upset of the 5A postseason to date with a 4-3 10-inning win over second-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the regional semifinals.

The Lions have won five of their last seven games, the only losses in that stretch coming in a doubleheader sweep at the hands of Cedar Rapids Prairie in its regular season finale.

Expect senior Kate Smith to get the nod for Linn-Mar in the circle as the Lions seek to return to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.

Smith is 15-16 with a 3.00 ERA after a 10-inning complete game win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Saturday.

The strength of the Linn-Mar batting order lies in its top three hitters, Kennedy Rentschler, Rolle and Ally Johnson.

Johnson is hitting .402 with a team-high four home runs and 29 RBI.

Breakdown: After splitting a regular season doubleheader and turning Region 6 upside down with a pair of semifinal upsets City High and Linn-Mar will meet in a winner-take-all rubber match with the winner clinching a spot at the state tournament.

City High won the opener in a May 29 doubleheader 7-3 and Linn-Mar salvaged the split with a 5-4 win in the nightcap.

The Little Hawks enter riding a four-game winning streak and are hitting .397 as a team and averaging 11.8 runs per game during that stretch.