Your Prep Sports
A year ago West Branch pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the postseason when it stunned defending state runner-up Regina in a regional quarterfinal.
The Bears nearly repeated that feat on Friday.
West Branch built a 4-0 lead and pushed second-ranked Louisa-Muscatine to the brink before falling 6-5 in eight innings in a Class 2A, Region 8 semifinal in Letts.
The Class 3A runner-up last season and 2A state champion in 2018, Louisa-Muscatine (17-5) advanced to the Region 8 title game where it will face Wilton (14-3) on Monday at 7 p.m.
West Branch closed the season (7-9).
The Bears took a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Nicki Henson singled leading off the game and Mackenzie Heise hammered a two-run homer.
West Branch tacked on two more runs in the third with Henson and Maddy Hatfield providing singles as the Bears took a 4-0 lead.
Louisa-Muscatine pulled even with four runs in the bottom of the inning and the two teams traded runs in the fourth.
West Branch took a 5-4 lead when Taylor Thein reached on a bunt single and scored on a Sasha Koenig RBI single.
Louisa-Muscatine tied the score in the bottom of the inning and it remained tied until the Falcons took advantage of a pair of Bear errors to score the winning run in the eighth.
Henson had two hits and scored twice to lead West Branch while Heise drove in a pair with her fifth home run of the season.
Koenig had a hit and drove in a run and Thein had a hit and scored a run.
Kaiya Luneckas took the loss for West Branch allowing six runs, three earned, on four hits while striking out nine and walking four.
West Branch 202 100 00 – 5 6 5
Louisa-Muscatine 004 100 01 – 6 4 2
W – Hailey Sanders L – Kaiya Luneckas
HR – WB: Mackenzie Heise