By RODRICK ANDERSON
WESTLAKE — After coming up short at home in the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons, the Westlake Lady Rams finally broke through to the second round with a 12-2 five-inning win over Iowa on Monday at home.
It was Westlake’s first playoff win since beating Kaplan 7-1 in the regional round in 2010.
“I am very proud of the girls,” Westlake head coach Lindsey Langner said. “One of the things that we have preached is that it doesn’t matter what they came in as and that it doesn’t matter who we are playing.
“I thought they did a good job coming out and wanting this win and not taking it for granted.”
Going into its third game against Iowa, the concern for Westlake was scoring early but they had no problems this time, taking a 6-0 after two innings.
“In the past against Iowa, we had not been scoring until the fourth inning,” Langner said. “So, we did better at scoring earlier but we still are not pushing as many across as we need to.
“I would like to see that get a little bit better, but they did a good job of combing back after they had scored.”
With two outs in the bottom of the first inning and a full count, sophomore Myka Lester launched a two-run moonshot to right-center field that nearly hit a jeep on the other side of the fence.
Westlake added four more runs in the second inning with two outs on a two-run double by Kenedee Morris a two-run single by Reagan Richard.
Iowa struggled against Lester who pitched her third one-hitter of the season despite having not pitched in almost two weeks.
“They (Westlake) hit the ball better than we did,” Iowa head coach Kenzie Singletary said. “We struggled at the plate and hit it right at them when we did hit it.”
Lester (18-5) got into a jam in the top of the third inning when she hit a batter and walked two to load the bases but got out of the inning after giving up just two runs on a passed ball and an error. Lester worked on her mechanics between innings and allowed just one base runner over the final two frames. She struck out five batter and issued three walks.
“She is still fighting with her injury,” Langner said. “After that inning, she worked on a few things and came back and really turned it up.”
Westlake broke the game open with five runs in the fourth inning including a two-run single by Baleigh Glover and Morris ended the game on a walk off RBI single in the fifth.
Westlake (20-6) will host No. 9 St. James (21-4) in the regional round, likely on Friday.
Westlake 12, Iowa 2
Iowa 002 00—2-1-3
Westlake 240 51—12-12-3
PITCHING: W — Myka Lester (18-5). L — Kinzy Daigle.
TOP HITTERS: Iowa — Alysia Smith 1-2 (run). Westlake — Kenedee Morris 3-4 (2 runs, 3 RBIs, 2 doubles), Reagan Richard 3-3 (2 runs, 3 RBIs, double), Myka Lester 1-3 (2 runs, 2 RBIs, HR), Morgan Harlow 1-3 (2 runs, double).
GAME NOTES: Westlake won its first playoff game since 2010.
RECORDS: Iowa — 10-20. Westlake — 20-6.