LETTS — It's not easy to beat a good team three times.
The third-ranked Louisa-Muscatine High School softball team managed it Friday night in the semifinal round of the Class 2A Region 7 tournament on the Falcons' home field. Louisa-Muscatine ousted Wapello, 10-3.
"It's tough to beat a good team time after time and Wapello is a good team," Louisa-Muscatine coach Bryan Butler said. "When you play a tough team, they make adjustments and you don't because you're winning."
Butler did make at least one adjustment, however. In two regular season wins over Wapello, he pitched Isabelle True. Friday night, True patrolled left field and Hailey Sanders went to the circle.
"We saw True both times" in SEI Superconference North Division play, Wapello coach Shannon Salazar said. True and the Falcons beat Wapello 6-4 and 4-0. "I thought we hit (Sanders) well," Salazar said.
The Arrows had six hits against Sanders, who picked up her eighth win in 10 decisions.
Wapello's ace, Eliza Noa (17-5), took the loss.
"Eliza Noa is a great pitcher," Butler said. "We did work on (hitting) her changeup. It worked."
Louisa-Muscatine (34-6) moves on to Monday's 7 p.m. regional championship game against East Marshall on the Falcons' home field. That winner advances to the state tournament.
Trailing 3-1, the Falcons clinched the victory with a nine-run fifth inning. Kylee Sanders singled and Katie Koppe doubled her home. True was hit by a pitch and Hailey Sanders doubled home a run. Katie Hearn followed with a two-run double and Brynn Jeamby singled Hearn home. Mae Cox walked and Mallory Hohenadel advanced the runners to second and third on a fielder's choice. Kylee Sanders, a .512 hitter, got her second single of the inning and drove Jeamby home. McKenna Hohenadel hit a two-run single to right and she scored on an infield error.
Suddenly, it was 10-3.
Louisa-Muscatine struck first. True led off the second with a double to left and advanced to third on a fielder's choice. Jeamby then bounced into a fielder's choice to allow True to cross the plate for a 1-0 edge.
Wapello came alive with small ball in the fourth. Addisyn Lolling drew a walk to lead off and she scampered to second on Serah Shafer's bunt. Shafer was safe at first. Abby Kerr sacrifice bunted the runners to second and third. Noa bunted and first baseman Mallory Hohenadel's error allowed Lolling home with the tying run. Toni Bohlen followed with a two-run double to put the Arrows up 3-1.
"There, for a minute, I thought we had them," Salazar said. "They were probably a little worried."
Wapello's Emma Reid led all hitters with two doubles and a single in four trips. Kylee Sanders, Hearn and Jeamby each had two hits for Louisa-Muscatine.
Wapello ended its season at 23-10. Salazar was proud. "I told the girls we fought through low numbers (only 11 players dressed Friday night), we were bit by an injury bug all season but we fought through it."
The Arrows lose three seniors — Noa, Lolling and Kerr. "Those are some big shoes to fill," Salazar said.
Louisa-Muscatine now gears up for East Marshall, a team unfamiliar to Butler. "They must be a pretty good team," he said. "They're way up by Marshalltown. That's a long trip (for them)." Butler understands long trips for a regional final. "We went to Pella last year," he recalled. "It was even longer coming back" after a loss.
The Falcons have no seniors, but are anchored by six juniors. "The good thing is there is a good travel ball team around here," Butler said. "The girls play in that. It's a good feeder program."
Wapello;000;300;0;—; 3; 6;3
WP — Hailey Sanders (8-2). LP — Eliza Noa (17-5). Two or more hits — Wapello: Emma Reid 3-4; Louisa-Muscatine: Kylee Sanders 2-5, Katie Hearn 2-3, Brynn Jeamby 2-4. 2B — Toni Bohlen (W), E Reid 2, Serah Shafer (W), Isabelle True (LM), H Sanders, Hearn, Jeamby. RBI — Bohlen 2, K Sanders, McKenna Hohenadel (LM) 2, Katie Koppe (LM), H Sanders, Hearn 2, Jeamby 2.
Records — Wapello 23-10, Louisa-Muscatine 34-6.