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FORT DODGE — They didn’t adjust against Bailey Richards. And as a result, the Regina Regals didn’t repeat.
Richards pitched a two-hitter, and sixth-ranked Van Meter had a big third inning to stymie No. 7 Iowa City Regina, 3-0, for the Class 2A state softball championship Friday night at the Rogers Sports Complex.
“It’s amazing,” Richards said. “I’ll tell you right now, I wish somebody would wake me up. This just doesn’t seem real.”
Richards struck out seven batters and forced 11 flyouts and the Bulldogs finished 33-7.
“She got us with the riseball,” Regina’s Kennedy Brown said. “We didn’t adjust to her. We kind of did the same thing over and over. You’ve got to score runs to win games, and we didn’t do it.”
Regina (28-18) was bidding to for its second consecutive 2A championship, but fell short.
“It was either going to be one big inning or a couple smaller innings, or it was going to come down to mistakes, and neither team made a mistake,” Regina Coach Jon Prottsman said. “Their big inning made the difference.”
It came in the top of the third, and Richards was the key figure in it. She lashed a two-run double off the left-field fence to break a scoreless draw.
Meagan Blomgren and Mackenzie Blomgren preceded Richards with a pair of one-out walks, then Richards drove them both in. Casey Jamison followed with an RBI single for a 3-0 Van Meter cushion.
“The Blomgrens get on base and try to wreak a lot of havoc,” Van Meter Coach James Flaws said. “And Bailey ... she was just dominant.”
The Bulldogs didn’t manage another hit in the final four innings, but they didn’t need to.
Regina’s best threat came in the bottom of the sixth, when walks to Emma Corkery and Brown gave the Regals two runners aboard with one out. But Richards induced flyouts from Lehman and Katie Bracken, and the scoring opportunity fizzled.
“You’ve got to give (Richards) credit. She put it where we had to go after it,” Prottsman said. “Kudos to her.”
Richards was the 2A all-tournament captain. Four Regina players — Bracken, Brown, Corkery and Lehman were on the all-tournament squad. Corkery, Bracken and Lehman are among seven starters that will return next season.
VAN METER 3, IOWA CITY REGINA 0
Class 2A State Championship, at Fort Dodge
Van Meter 003 000 0 — 3 3 0
Iowa City Regina 000 000 0 — 0 2 0
Bailey Richards and Abby Archer. Sarah Lehman and Maeve Dunne. W — Richards (18-2). L — Lehman (15-11).
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