Prep Softball

Upset at Regina makes West Branch a sudden contender for state softball

With 2A regional-semifinal trip to Wapello looming, Bears 'can't be satisfied'

West Branch Bears
West Branch Bears

One swing changed everything. Mackenzie Heise’s three-run home run lifted West Branch past seventh-ranked Iowa City Regina, 3-1, in a Class 2A softball regional quarterfinal Wednesday. It ended Regina’s four-year state-tournament run, and it drastically changed the landscape in 2A Region 8.

Now, the Bears have a shot to reach to Fort Dodge. A good shot.

“It feels really good to have things come together,” West Branch Coach Chandran Lapel said. “We’ve been talking all season that we have to get better every single day. We have a lot of energy right now.”

In a bracket now empty of ranked teams, West Branch (18-17) faces Wapello (15-12) in a regional semifinal Friday at Wapello.

“As good as it felt (Wednesday), we can’t be satisfied,” Lapel said. “We had a great practice (Thursday). We’re going to use the same routine that we’ve been using.”

Regional semifinals are Friday throughout the state in 3A, 2A and 1A, with winners advancing to Monday’s regional finals.

Though 15-22, Benton Community is two steps away from a fourth state tournament trip in a five-year span, highlighted by a 3A state title in 2016. The Bobcats play at No. 11 Solon (22-15) Friday.

A UNI signee, Angie Gorkow is a five-year starter for the Bobcats.

“She’s been an integral part of our program,” Benton Coach Eric Stenberg said. “She’s the last starter still here from the 2016 team.”

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Solon swept the Bobcats in the regular season, but Stenberg said, “I’m confident that we can go over there and compete.”

One of the top area matchups Friday will be at Belle Plaine, where the 11th-ranked Plainsmen (23-8) host Central City (31-10) in 1A.

Belle Plaine won 6-5 at Central City on June 11.

“We scored all five of our runs in the bottom of the seventh,” Central City Coach Dave Johnson said. “We have to put runs up earlier this time. We can’t afford to fall behind.”

North Linn (37-4), ranked No. 1 in 2A, hosts Hudson (16-18), and 1A No. 2 Lisbon (30-6) hosts Don Bosco (21-13).

Friday's 3A regional semifinals

All games 7 p.m.

Region 1

Monticello (14-22) at Davenport Assumption (36-2)

West Burlington (24-11) at Camanche (31-9)

Region 3

Centerville (15-14) at Louisa-Muscatine (31-4)

Eddyville EBF (24-10) at Williamsburg (30-11)

Region 5

Benton Community (15-22) at Solon (22-15)

West Marshall (14-17) at Mount Vernon (25-11)

Region 6

North Fayette Valley (22-12) at West Liberty (26-5)

Crestwood (22-13) at Anamosa (30-4)

 

Friday's 2A regional semifinals

All games 7 p.m.

Region 1

South Hamilton (19-9) at Jesup (29-9)

Colfax-Mingo (22-7) at East Marshall (29-4)

Region 6

Alburnett (18-17) at Durant (28-6)

Northeast (20-13) at Dyersville Beckman (27-13)

Region 7

Hudson (16-18) at North Linn (37-4)

Osage (15-18) at Saint Ansgar (24-7)

Region 8

West Branch (18-17) at Wapello (15-12)

Pekin (18-13) at Van Buren (15-11)

 

Friday's 1A regional semifinals

All games 7 p.m.

Region 5

BGM (13-13) at Lynnville-Sully (24-8)

Sigourney (18-13) at North Mahaska (17-9)

Region 6

Don Bosco (21-13) at Lisbon (30-6)

Central City (31-10) at Belle Plaine (23-8)

Region 7

Turkey Valley (18-15) at Clarksville (29-1)

Edgewood-Colesburg (23-15) at Starmont (16-21)

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

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