IC Regina will defend 2A title

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Iowa City Regina Jess Hunter hits a single against Des Moines Christian during class 2A semifinals on Wednesday

No. 10 Iowa City Regina will defend its Class 2A state title after knocking off fourth-ranked Des Moines Christian here Wednesday at Rogers Park, 1-0 in eight innings.

Lauren Marth singled in Carrigan O’Conner and Katie Bracken sat the Lions down in the bottom half of the inning to advance the Regals (25-15 overall) to a meeting with No. 3 Louisa-Muscatine (37-6) Thursday night at 8:15 p.m.

Bracken finished with 12 strikeouts to better Des Moines Christian’s (23-7) Maren Judisch, who had 14 strikeouts of her own.

“I know I said it (after the quarterfinals) but I’ll take Katie Bracken inside the circle every day,” Iowa City Regina head coach Jake Koolbeck said. “She is hitting her stride at the right time and is throwing very well. We expect that out of her and she expects it out of herself.

“I’m thrilled with the way she pitched, thrilled with the defense behind her and excited to be playing in the finals.”

The Regals are seeking their fourth state title in eight years, this time under Koolbeck, who replaced Jon Prottsman. With eight starters back from that run a season ago, Koolbeck will rely on the players to prepare for Louisa-Muscatine.

“They like to spend time together and just hang out,” Koolbeck said. “They’ve been here so I’ll let them know what they need to do. Hopefully we’ll play good defense, Katie will be Katie and the bats will get going to take some pressure off our defense and let me relax a little bit more.”

Bracken did not walk a batter over her eight innings, scattering our hits. She has 20 strikeouts and just two walks with nine hits allowed over two state games.

Des Moines Christian, back in the field for the first time since 2012, will face No. 6 Central Springs (28-4) for third place on Diamond 2 Thursday at 7 p.m.

Judisch allowed just four hits on the day and worked around five walked batters. Emma Veenstra had two hits for the Lions.

IOWA CITY REGINA 1,

DES MOINES CHRISTIAN 0

IC Regina 000 000 01 — 1 4 2

DMC 000 000 00 — 0 4 0

WP–Katie Bracken (17-13, 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 12 K, 0 BB); LP–Maren Judisch (13-1, 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 14 K, 5 BB).

RBI–ICR: Lauren Marth. 2B–DMC: Emma Veenstra.