IOWA CITY — Ryne Schooley has been a key figure in Iowa City Regina’s batting order.
During the course of last season, Schooley served as the No. 2 hitter in the lineup. He also moved to the third spot, ending the season as the Regals’ cleanup hitter.
This year, Regina Coach Jeff Pacha moved Schooley to leadoff and he has proved he does that pretty well, too.
Schooley belted a three-run home run and drove in six runs, helping Class 2A third-ranked Regina to an 11-9 prep baseball victory over Cedar Rapids Xavier on Wednesday at Regina. He finished 3-for-5, reaching base four times and scoring three times.
“It’s exciting,” Schooley said. “I had people on base so I was trying to do what I could to get them over. The ball bounced my way today.”
Pacha said Schooley has a knack to produce competitive at-bats. He worked in the offseason to get stronger, driving the ball when he pounces on pitches in the zone.
“He’s seeing the ball really well right now,” Pacha said. “We moved him up to leadoff for his ability to see pitches, hit good pitches and get on base. He adds that element.”
Schooley helped the Regals pull away in two separate instances, drilling a three-run shot over the left field fence in the third, making it 7-3 after Xavier pulled within a run in the top half of the inning.
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Schooley added an RBI double in the fifth and scored on Trent Hoogerwerf’s base hit. Schooley drove in the Regals’ final runs with a two-run double to center in the sixth.
“Usually you’re going to get a first-pitch fastball,” said Schooley, who is hitting .371 with four homers and 14 RBIs. “I try to ride that. I’ve been trying to do that this year. I’m just trying to get on base for my team.
“We have really good (Nos.) 2, 3, 4 and 5 hitters. Getting on and having those guys produce to move me over has been big.”
Nick Brandt earned his third win and Hoogerwerf had two hits for Regina (8-2).
Xavier (6-5) continued to chip away at the Regina lead throughout the game, scoring three runs and putting the go-ahead run on first in the seventh. Will Angstman had two hits, including a two-run double in the third, and three RBIs. Quinn Miller had three hits, Pat McGinn had two hits and Kyle Moeder drove in two runs for the Saints.
“We’re very resilient, competing and not giving away at-bats,” Xavier Coach Dan Halter said. “We’ve shown the ability to come back every game, whether we’ve finished the job or not. A lot of positives there with stringing together at-bats, putting pressure on and now it’s a matter of cleaning up why we got in that hole.”
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