Your Prep Sports
After a one-year hiatus Regina is seeking a return to the state tournament under first-year head coach Morgan Goedken.
Standing in the way of a trip to Fort Dodge for Regina (9-13) is a rematch with fourth-ranked Northeast (18-2) in the Class 2A, Region 7 title game in Goose Lake on Monday.
Northeast won the regular season meeting 8-5 over Regina back on July 2 and is seeking its first state tournament berth.
Here is a quick look at the Region 7 title game.
Class 2A, Region 7
Regina (9-13) at No. 4 Northeast (18-2)
When: Monday, 7 p.m.
Where: Northeast High School in Goose Lake
Top Players: Regina – Annie Gahan, Jr., SS, .394 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI. Ally Gahan, Sr., 1B .297 BA, 1 HR, 8 RBI. Northeast – Bree Mangelsen, Sr., C, .565 BA, 2 HR, 30 RBI. Alexis Ehlers, Jr., SS, .534 BA, 12 2B, 20 RBI.
About the Regals: Regina has continued its tradition of strong postseason play this season snapping a four-game losing skid to end the regular season with back-to-back postseason wins in a span of 24 hours.
Regina followed up a 5-0 win over Alburnett in a regional opener delayed a day by rain with a 2-1 semifinal win over Cascade on Friday.
The Regals will be seeking their fifth state tournament appearance in six years and first since finishing runner-up in 2018 on Monday.
Regina has faced its annual challenging regular season with doubleheaders against larger class teams Liberty High, Washington and Cedar Rapids Xavier in addition to its River Valley Conference schedule.
The Regina offense is led by the Gahan sisters along with Emma Nibaur (.292) and Emma Sueppel (.290).
About the Rebels: Northeast enters the regional final riding a 10-game winning streak and hasn’t lost since falling to Class 4A fourth-ranked North Scott in the opening game of a doubleheader on July 1.
Both losses for the Rebels have come to top-10 teams from larger classes with the other loss a 3-2 setback at 3A eighth-ranked Anamosa.
One of the top offensive teams in the state, Northeast ranks fourth in all classes with a .419 team batting average and has five players hitting over .425.
Senior Bree Mangelsen (.565) and junior Alex Ehlers (.534) lead the Rebel offense combining for 30 extra-base hits and 50 RBI.
Claire Abbott (.471), Valerie Spooner (.462) and Audrey Morris (.426) are all hitting over .425.
Northeast ranks fourth in Class 2A in runs scored, is averaging 9 runs per game and has scored double digit runs five times in its last seven games including each of its two regional wins.
What to watch: As is often in the case in the postseason this one will likely hinge on pitching and it will be a matchup of two players making their first career regional final starts.
Regina sophomore Emma Nibaur (5-7, 2.48 ERA) has been lights out in a pair of postseason starts.
Nibaur tossed six shutout innings in a win over Alburnett and allowed just two hits and struck out six in a complete game win over Cascade.
Northeast counters with eighth-grader Madison Kluever (17-2, 2.81 ERA) who has stepped in as the workhorse of the Rebel staff working 112 innings in her first varsity season.
Regina scored five runs on 12 hits against Kluever in an 8-5 regular season loss at Northeast earlier this month but the Rebels will be getting their first look at Nibaur who didn’t pitch in the first meeting.
Neither pitcher is overpowering so there will be defensive plays to be made, something Northeast has done well all season while ranking third in Class 2A with a .957 fielding percentage.