Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Since taking over the Regina softball program Angela Kessler has continued the Regals’ long-standing tradition as one of the top Class 2A programs in the state.
Like any coach Kessler has made tweaks and put her own mark on the program in her three seasons as head coach.
One element Kessler has changed is something Regina has done for decades – challenge itself against a loaded non-conference schedule consisting mostly of teams from larger classes.
“Regina has always done that, it’s been done long before me,” Kessler said. “Whoever started that was smart.”
Defending 2A state champion Regina faced another tough non-conference test on Wednesday at 3A eighth-ranked Solon and just as the Regals have done for most of the season, they aced it.
Senior Ashley Webb tossed a complete game shutout and top-ranked Regina hammered 12 hits in a 3-0 win over Solon on a sunny night in Solon.
“This is another really good team, Solon is always tough and they are fun to play,” Kessler said. “We didn’t get to play them last year and I am just glad they are back on our schedule this year.”
Webb fanned 13 in a complete game four-hitter and Kennedy Connor had three hits and drove in two runs as Regina improved to 12-4 on the season.
With the win, Regina has won 11 of its last 13 games with the only two losses in that stretch coming to top-seven ranked 5A teams Muscatine and Southeast Polk.
“The girls are having fun and we focus on good mechanics and having fun,” Kessler said. “We struggled with some errors in a couple of games but I think we’ve gotten through that and we are in a good spot.”
Regina gave Webb all the offense she would need in its first at bat on Wednesday.
Avery Kies led off the game with a single and Courtney Kessler and Webb followed with singles.
Kies scored on an RBI groundout by Connor that gave Regina an early 1-0 cushion.
“I feel like we came out in inning one wanting to attack,” Webb said. “We knew if we wanted this game we had to take it ourselves.”
Webb was in control from the beginning.
The senior left-hander struck out the side in the second before working around one-out singles by Mia Stahle and McKenna Rogers in the third.
“I had faced these girls when I was at CCA and I knew how they hit and what they like and don’t like,” Webb said. “That kind of helped tonight.”
Webb retired 14 of the final 16 hitters she faced allowing just a one-out single to Kayla Meseck in the fifth and a lead off hit by pitch in the seventh.
Seven of the final 12 outs for Webb came via strikeout.
“I’ve played against a lot of these girls for years and I had a pretty good memory so we knew how we wanted to attack,” Regina senior catch Courtney Kessler said. “They might fool me once through the lineup but they aren’t going to fool me twice so we were just trying to keep them on their toes and throw them something they weren’t going to expect.”
Webb improved to 7-4 on the season with the win.
“My rise and screw were working tonight,” Webb said. “Everyone has kind of started knowing that my drop curve was kind of my thing so we’ve been working on other things to off set that. It was working tonight.”
Regina tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the fifth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Connor and Gabby Sueppel.
Connor, Kies, Kessler and Morgan Gahan all had multiple hits for Regina.
“We’ve had our ups and downs but tonight we brought a bunch of energy and that’s what we are kind of know for,” Kessler said. “We play our best when we bring energy so it was really nice to see that.”
Regina 100 020 0 – 3 12 1
Solon 000 000 0 – 0 4 4
W – Ashley Webb L – Kendall Jensen
2B – SOL: Maddyn Gates. ICR: Gabby Sueppel, Kennedy Connor