Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Jeff Pacha promised his team that Mid-Prairie would come out swinging in Tuesday’s Class 2A, District 9 semifinal.
Pacha’s promise proved to be accurate, fortunately for the Regina head coach the Regals swung right back.
Class 2A third-ranked Regina broke open a 2-2 tie with a four-run fourth inning and hung on for a 7-3 win over Mid-Prairie in its postseason opener in front of a big crowd at Regina.
“I really think that was the big thing tonight is we didn’t give up after being hit in the mouth,” Regina senior Blake Berns said. “They hit us and we just came back and hit back.”
Mid-Prairie (12-17) had seven of its 10 hits in the first three innings, including four in a two-run third that tied the score 2-2.
Regina (25-7) didn’t wait long to hit back.
The Regals exploded for four runs in the fourth inning to take 6-2 lead it would never give up while running its winning streak to nine.
Regina will host Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (17-9) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the District 9 title game.
“Our biggest thing was we weren’t going to fold when we were tied in the fourth inning,” Regina senior Evan Suchomel said. “We went out and got it done.”
Regina swept Mid-Prairie in River Valley Conference doubleheader back on June 11 that featured an eight-inning Regina win in the opener.
The postseason rematch seemed to be shaping up for a similar finish after Karson Gingerich ripped an RBI double and Keaton Duwa followed with a run-scoring single to tie the game at 2-2 in the third inning.
“That is a good team, they came with a plan, (Mid-Prairie coach) Andy’s (Greiner) teams always play hard, we knew they were going to come and not roll over,” Pacha said. “It took us extra innings in the regular season to beat them, that’s a good team.”
After Mid-Prairie seized the momentum in the third Regina battled back an inning later.
Nick Brandt led off with a single, Jayden Kies walked and Ryne Schooley singled to start the four-run Regina fourth.
Trent Hoogerwerf had a sacrifice fly and Berns reached on an error and came around to score the fourth run in the inning.
“I think that’s the first time this season and that we have come out and really punched back after we get punched in the mouth,” Berns said. “It was good to see. I think we’ve taken a step forward in maturity and it was good to see us come right back and punch back."
That proved to be enough for Regina ace Mitch Gahan.
Gahan allowed three runs on eight hits but struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings while improving to 7-2 on the season.
After giving up two runs on four hits in the third inning Gahan allowed just two hits over the next 3 1/3.
“As a pitcher I’m just trying to stay cool, calm and collective,” Gahan said. “I trust my stuff, I know how to pitch and what I want to do so I just tried to go back to that.
Suchomel led a 10-hit Regina attack with three hits while Schooley and Brandt each had two hits.
“Overall I thought we strung some pretty good at bats together,” Pacha said. “We didn’t blow off the cover off the ball tonight but that’s baseball. If you can find a way to string some quality at bats together and move runners and score them you have a chance.”
Mid-Prairie 002 000 1 – 3 10 3
Regina 200 410 x – 7 10 5
W – Mitch Gahan L – Collin Gingerich
2B – MP: Karson Gingerich (2)