Defending-champ Regina a step closer to repeat

State softball: Regals down North Union, 7-3, in a 2A quarterfinal

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FORT DODGE — Act like you’ve been here before.

Kennedy Brown does. And has.

A state-tournament veteran, Brown clubbed a third-inning home run to ignite seventh-ranked Iowa City Regina, which went on to defeat No. 4 North Union, 7-3, in a Class 2A quarterfinal at the state softball tournament Wednesday afternoon at the Rogers Sports Complex.

“As a leader, I need to be calm and ready to go,” Brown said.

Brown drove in three runs, Emma Corkery added three hits (including a two-run double), and Sarah Lehman struck out 13 batters as the Regals (27-17) advanced to Thursday’s semifinal against No. 3 Logan-Magnolia. First pitch is 5:30 p.m.

Logan-Magnolia (33-2) rallied past Central Springs, 7-6.

Don’t be deceived by Regina’s record. The defending-champions Regals compete in a strong River Valley Conference, and they certainly don’t shy away from the big-school powers on the weekends.

“We see really good pitching during the season,” Brown said. “So we’re ready for whatever we see here.”

Also a standout in soccer and basketball, Brown is competing in her 10th career state tournament. Her two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the third broke a scoreless tie.

Regina extended the lead to 5-0 in the fourth. Jess Hunter’s bunt single drove in a run, then Corkery added a two-run double.

Corkery, the Regals’ leadoff hitter, was 3-for-4.

“My goal is to always get on base,” Corkery said. “Get on base, and score for my teammates.”

Lehman (14-10) scattered five hits and was in command throughout, with the exception of one pitch — “a drop ball that didn’t drop” that North Union’s Sarah Rolling sent over the right-center field fence for a three-run homer (her 15th of the season), pulling the Warriors (32-5) within 5-3.

“Mostly my curve was working pretty well,” she said. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence. Our hitting is good, and our defense is where it needs to be.”

Regina got a run back in the fifth inning. Brown walked to lead it off, then stole second and third, and scored on Katie Bracken’s groundout.

Brown walked with the bases loaded in the sixth for the final run.

IOWA CITY REGINA 7, NORTH UNION 3

Class 2A State Quarterfinal, at Fort Dodge

North Union 000 030 0 — 3 5 2

Iowa City Regina 002 311 x — 7 7 0

Anna Ingalls and Rory McClellan. Sarah Lehman and Maeve Dunne. W — Lehman (14-10). L — Ingalls (25-3). HR — ICR: Kennedy Brown (8), NU: Sarah Rolling (15).

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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