No. 9 Washington splits with Keokuk
KEOKUK — Ninth-ranked Washington struggled to hit the ball in the first game of Monday’s Southeast Conference softball doubleheader at Keokuk, losing the game 4-1, but the Demons came back and had one big inning to defeat the Chiefs 10-0 in five innings in the nightcap.
Washington (4-2, 1-1 SEC) scored all 10 runs in the third inning of the second game.
“It was a really big inning,” Washington head coach Angie Shrader said. “Obviously if you can score 10 runs in an inning, it’s a big inning. We hit the ball much better. Once we started getting a couple people on base with a few hits and a few walks, we hit the ball harder and they were forced to rush to make things happen and made mistakes. We just kind of created something. Once the floodgates opened, it was a waterfall after that.”
Senior Maddie Bohr reached base on an error to lead off the third inning. She stole second and moved to third on senior Sammy Ellingson’s sacrifice bunt. Junior Stephanie Fishback followed with an RBI single, senior Kaitlin Buchholz had an RBI double, and senior Joni Erwin hit an RBI single. After back-to-back walks, sophomore Kolbi Breard singled home a run. An error brought a run home to score, and then Bohr drove in a run with a single. Two runs scored on a another Keokuk error, and then Buchholz hit a two-RBI triple.
Buchholz went 2-for-3 in the nightcap with a double, a triple and three RBIs. Bohr and Fishback both were 2-for-4 with an RBI, and junior Ashley Rausch was 2-for-2. Erwin and Breard both had a hit and an RBI, and junior Grace Redlinger also had a hit.
Meanwhile, Bohr allowed just four hits while throwing five shutout innings. She struck out three batters and walked three as she improved to 2-0 on the season.
Washington took an early lead in the opening game of the doubleheader when junior Chayse Jaspering hit a bases-loaded single to bring home Erwin to score in the second inning. But the Demons were unable to string together any more hits.
“We just didn’t hit the ball really well,” Shrader said. “We only had five hits [in the first game], and two of them came in the last inning. We stranded seven base runners, but we just didn’t hit the ball with authority. We made contact with the ball — we only had two strikeouts — but they were little dribblers and pop flies. If we don’t force them to make mistakes, it’s not going to happen.”
Bohr, Buchholz, Erwin, Redlinger and Jaspering each had a hit for Washington in the opening game.
Keokuk (1-5, 1-1 SEC) tied the game with a run in the bottom of the third inning, and then added another run in the fourth and two in the sixth to win 4-1. The Chiefs scored four runs, two of which were earned, on eight hits off of Washington starting pitcher Ashley Rausch. Rausch struck out three batters and walked three in the loss.
“I don’t think some of Ashley’s pitches were working really well, and they got hits when they needed to,” Shrader said.
But Washington came back and got the hits it needed in the second game to earn a split of the conference doubleheader.
“To get a win and win 10-0, it was a much better way to end the doubleheader,” Shrader said. “It makes the bus ride much better on the way home. I still think we could have been more competitive in the first game had we gotten things going offensively. We’ll take the split down there, and hopefully when we meet them at home we can get two.”
The Demons face another key Southeast Conference doubleheader on Thursday when rival Mt. Pleasant comes to town.
“We need to make sure we’re ready to play,” Shrader said. “Even though Mt. Pleasant has had some young kids the last couple of years, those young kids now have a couple of years of experience. We always seem to have a tough time with Mt. Pleasant. We need to make sure we’re focused for seven innings and take care of the things we can do.”