"When you play each other so often, we know each other inside and out in this region at this point," Reivers head coach Lana Ross said. "It's really tight. This weekend is always anybody's weekend. It doesn't matter if you're 10-2 or 3-9. Anybody can win this tournament."
After scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally for a 7-6 win over the Blackhawks, the Reivers never trailed again in the regional tournament. Iowa Western matched up twice with Indian Hills, the team that battled the Reivers to the seventh and decisive game of the regional tournament each of the last two years.
IHCC joined Iowa Western in the winners' bracket game Saturday afternoon by winning its opening tournament game. The Warriors shook off two solo home runs by Caitlin Nichol and rallied for a 4-2 win over Muscatine, using a big two-run homer from Kaitlyn Matzen to take the lead for good in the fifth.
In the first matchup with the Reivers, Kendle Schieber made up for allowing a solo home run to Samantha Villegas by crushing one of her own in the second inning to tie the fourth game of the tournament at 1-1. Freshman Michelle Trulin then had a key two-run double during a three-run fifth as the Reivers opened a 4-1 lead, one of a tournament-best six hits for the Blair, Nebraska native.
"I just knew what kind of pitches I was going to be seeing, but I just had confidence I could put the ball in play," Trulin said. "If I got out, I got out. I wasn't afraid to put the bat on the ball."
After pulling within 4-3, sophomore Felisha Durflinger nearly erased Iowa Western's game-four lead twice in the sixth inning. With Laci Moore on first, Durflinger crushed a line drive to left that hooked just foul at the last second.