Breaking Down Tuesday's Area Baseball Substate Finals

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Your Prep Sports

Class 2A, Substate 5

Central Lee (21-7) vs. No. 3 Regina (26-7)

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Fairfield

Player to Watch: Regina senior Mitch Gahan figures to get the call and has been dynamite atop the Regal rotation all season. Gahan is 7-2 with a 1.45 ERA and has struck out 63 and walked just nine in 43 1/3 innings.

Key Stat: Regina is averaging 10 runs per game and hitting .416 as a team during its current nine-game winning streak.

About the Hawks: Central Lee has won 11 of its last 12 games after knocking off top-seeded Mediapolis in the District 10 title game.

The Hawks reached the substate final behind back-to-back strong outings from senior ace Evan Doyle who allowed five hits and two runs in 10 1/3 innings of work in wins over Van Buren and Mediapolis.

It will now be up to the rest of the Central Lee staff to take over.

Junior Waylon Weirather (3-3, 2.10 ERA) and senior Jake Fraise (5-0, 1.68) are the top candidates to handle the workload in Tuesday’s substate final.

Five different regulars in the Central Lee lineup are hitting over .300 led by junior Tyler Hopp (.417, 36 runs) and senior Jared Brisby (.378, 30 RBI).

About the Regals: Regina is seeking a second consecutive trip to the state tournament and is playing as well as any team in Class 2A entering the substate finals.

The Regals have won nine straight and 12 of their last 13 and following a four-game losing skid that accounted for nearly half of their season loss total.

Regina has scored double figure runs five times during its current nine-game winning streak and has scored at least four runs in every game since a 9-1 loss to top-ranked Cascade on June 18.

The Regals have a lineup as balanced as any in 2A with eight starters hitting better than .345.

Senior Ryne Schooley leads the way with a .421 average, five home runs and 36 RBI while Blake Berns has homered five times and driven in 31 runs.

Breakdown: A senior-laden Regina squad will look to rely on its recent big game experience against a Central Lee squad seeking its first state tournament trip since 1997.

Look for Regina to be aggressive early. During its current nine-game winning streak Regina has outscored opponents 35-5 in the first two innings.

An early lead would be big against a Central Lee pitching staff that has been tough to crack this season.

The Hawks enter with a team ERA of 1.97 and have held opponents to 1 or 0 runs in 14 of their 28 games.