Your Prep Sports
The first 16 spots at the state tournament are up for grabs on Monday with regional finals scheduled for Classes 1A and 2A.
By the end of Tuesday evening all 40 of the teams headed to Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge for the state softball tournament will be set.
Before first pitches are tossed and state tournament bids are secured here is a quick breakdown of the regional title game on Monday between top-ranked Regina and Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont.
Class 2A, Region 7
Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (18-17) at No. 1 Regina (26-8)
When: Monday, 7 p.m.
Where: Regina High School
Top players: Regina – Courtney Kessler, Sr., .538 BA, 34 Runs, 51 RBI; Ashley Webb, Sr., 15-6, 1.50 ERA, 154 K, 111 2/3 IP. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont – Whitney Klyn, Sr., .379 BA, 7 HR, 32 RBI. Bella Noble, Sr., 14-14, 3.20 ERA, 119 K, 183 2/3 IP.
About the Regals: Top-ranked and defending state champion Regina survived a major semifinal scare from Cardinal scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to rally for a 3-2 win.
Back in the regional championship, Regina is seeking a third consecutive state tournament appearance after claiming the fourth title in program history and first since 2017 last season.
Of the eight losses for Regina this season seven have come to teams from larger classes with the lone loss to in-class competition coming to ninth-ranked Wilton back in May.
With eight players hitting over .300 Regina boasts one of the most complete lineups in Class 2A headlined by four players hitting over .400.
Senior center fielder Dani Laughlin leads a Regina offense that scores an average of 7.1 runs per game with a .610 average and has scored 43 runs.
Kessler (.538), sophomore Kennedy Conner (.421) and junior Avery Kies (.419) are all hitting over .400.
Senior Ashley Webb has been among the best pitchers in 2A this season ranking eighth in 2A in ERA (1.50), 12th in strikeouts (154) and 11th in WHIP (1.07).
About the Rockets: Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont has been one of the bigger surprises of the 2A postseason winning three straight games to reach the regional final.
The Rockets rattled off wins over Pella Christian, Van Buren and East Marshall to reach the title game where they are seeking the fourth all-time state tournament appearance and first since 2017 when they fell to Regina in the 2A title game.
Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont is playing its best softball of the season over the last two weeks and seniors Whitney Klyn and Bella Noble are a big reason for the late-season surge.
Klyn, who leads the Rockets in home runs (7), RBI (32) and walks (14) is 4-for-10 in postseason play and homered in both the quarterfinal and semifinal wins.
Noble meanwhile has allowed a single earned run in all three postseason starts, giving up 13 hits and striking out 17 in 21 postseason innings.
What to watch: Over the past decade Regina has made seven state tournament appearances, reached the state title game five times and won three state championships.
What the Regals have been perhaps most well known for during that impressive stretch is their improbable comebacks and wild finishes.
Regina is hoping this regional final comes drama free.
The Regals won a 1-0 thriller over East Marshall in the regional title game last season and needed a seventh-inning rally and 11 innings to edge Cardinal in a regional title game in 2021.
In the semifinals Regina trailed 2-0 to Cardinal before its latest postseason comeback.
Look for Regina to use every opportunity to play for a run early on Monday in an attempt to play with a lead.
With as good as Webb has been in the postseason, five hits, one walk and one earned run with 17 strikeouts in 10 innings, getting even a small early lead may be enough for the senior left-hander needs.