Iowa City Regina (27-7) defeated Central Lee (21-8) 4-1 in the Class 2A substate 5 baseball final Tuesday night at FMS, sending the Regals back to the state tournament where they lost 8-0 last season in the semifinals to Dyersville Beckman.
Starting pitcher Jake Fraise hit a solo homerun in the first to give Central Lee an early 1-0 advantage, but Regina took the lead in the top of the fourth when senior Jayden Kies hit a two-out single scoring fellow recent graduate Nicholas Brandt. Senior Ryan Schott followed a few batters later with a two-run bloop that scored Ryne Schooley and Levi Quinlan, before the Regals added another run in the home half of the fifth when Mitchell Gahan singled home Trenton Hoogerwerf to extend the Regina lead to three runs.
Gahan, a senior, collected the win by throwing 66 pitches over seven innings for the complete game four-hitter with six strikeouts and zero walks.
?It hasn?t been an easy road,? said Regina Head Coach Jeff Pacha who continued, ?We?re doing a good job staying locked in and obviously getting to this point is what we want, but what we really want is the ultimate goal, so we still have work to do. We?ll take tonight to enjoy the moment and get back to work tomorrow.?
The Regals skipper is now 92-47 in four seasons with Regina, including a 55-15 record over the last two with back-to-back trips to Principal Park in Des Moines.
Iowa City Regina will be joined at the Class 2A state tournament next week by Alta-Aurelia, Centerville, Denver, Estherville-Lincoln Central, Treynor, Van Meter and Wilton.