Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Regina softball coach Jon Prottsman didn’t mention to his players that they would be facing an eighth-grade pitcher on Tuesday.
It wasn’t that he forgot to mention it, but rather part of his mental approach.
“It’s not important,” Prottsman said. “If you start saying things like that, then pretty soon they start thinking, ‘well, she’s only an eighth grader. You’ve got to respect everybody. I don’t care who they are. You have to respect every opponent you play. I don’t care if they’re 22-3 or 0-18. Anybody can beat you at any time because that’s the way softball is.”
Prottsman’s approached worked in convincing fashion as Regina jumped all over Bellevue, scoring eight runs against freshman pitcher Grade Tath in the first inning and cruising to an 11-0 victory at Regina.
The game was stopped after 4 ½ inning because of the 10-run rule.
What looked like a mismatch on paper proved to be that on the field where the Comets, who finished 7-25 last season, had no answer for Regina's hitting or pitching.
Regina returned the bulk of its roster from last season's team that finished runner up in Class 2A at the state tournament.
“We should beat these guys and we did,” Prottsman said. “I don’t tell them about people. It’s just not important to me.
“Our job is to go and out and do what we can do.”
Regina countered with senior star Sarah Lehman on the mound and she delivered as usual, allowing just one hit with nine strikeouts. The hit, a single by Kailey Miller, came with two outs in the top the fifth inning.
Lehman then struck out Lindsey Banowetz for the final out of the game.
“She had one bad inning and it wasn’t the last (inning) when they got that little dink hit, it was earlier when she lost a little bit of control, she lost focus,” Prottsman said of Lehman. “That’s not totally unnatural for her. But it shouldn’t happen. It shouldn’t happen to anyone.
“But she came through okay.”
Bellevue only had three batters reach base, two of which came on walks in the second and third innings.
Regina pounded eight hits in the first inning, highlighted by sophomore Katie Bracken’s grand slam with no outs.
“That was my first home run ever here,” Bracken said. “Not my first home run, but first here.”
Bracken didn’t think she hit the ball hard enough to clear the fence.
“I thought it was a pop up to be complete honest,” she said. “
Prottsman also was surprised to see the ball sail over the fence in righrt center.
“I thought it was too much on the handle, it didn’t sound that good, but it just kept on carrying” Prottsman said. “She has power. It’s just swinging the bat. If she hits it solid, it’s going to go for her most of the time.”
Bracken said the players weren’t told until after the game that Bellevue’s pitcher was in eighth grade.
“We probably would have overlooked her a little bit, but not much,” Bracken said.
Bellevue 000 00 – 0 1 1
Regina 830 0x – 11 13 0
Grace Tath and Kylee Biedermann; Sarah Lehman and Maeve Dunne.
W – Sarah Lehman L – Grace Tath
2B – ICR: Sarah Lehman, Taylor O’Connor, Paisley Gardner.
HR – ICR: Katie Bracken