Rausch fuels upsetSoftball upsets No. 7 Assumption to advance to regional final
All it took was two swings for Ashley Rausch to get her team fired up on Saturday.
Rausch’s fourth-inning home run and a two-RBI double in the fifth got things going for the Demons (16-21) as they rolled their way to a 6-2 upset of No. 7 Davenport Assumption (28-12) in regional play.
The win advances the Demons to Tuesday’s regional final in Cedar Rapids, where they will take on Clear Creek Amana, who defeated No. 5 ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier 2-0, with a bid to the state tournament on the line.
“We’ve still got one game to go, but we are in a position we want to be in,” Washington head coach Angie Shrader said. “If our team shows up like this on Tuesday, whoever we play has got a fight.”
Rausch didn’t just get it done at the plate, as she pitched a complete game, giving up two runs (one earned), seven hits and one walk while striking
“I was just putting spin on the ball,” Rausch said. “I tried to spin it as much as I could, instead of throwing as hard as I could. I was throwing the way I was supposed to and the way I was taught.”
Assumption’s Jamie Miller reached base on an error to lead off the top of the fourth, then two batters later was driven in on a single that caromed off the first base bag.
In the bottom half of the inning, Rausch picked up the first Demon hit of the game, launching her home run over the left field fence with one out to tie the game up at one.
“She had a really good rise ball,” Rausch said. “I fell for it a couple times, but I just tried to stay calm and hit the ball as hard as I could.”
In the fifth, the Demons kept the offense rolling, loading the bases with one out on a pinch-hit single by Morgan Brinning, a Jessie Buchholz walk and a Chayse Jaspering single.
With two outs, Rausch came up big again with a double to give Washington its first lead of the game at 3-1.
“She picked up the two big hits that sparked us,” Shrader said. “She’s a senior and knows what the ramifications are and she doesn’t want her season to end. She did a great job and was on fire tonight.”
Grace Redlinger singled in two more runs as the Demons finished the inning with a 6-1 lead.
Assumption picked up a run in the sixth, but Rausch shut down the Lady Knights from the circle to complete the victory.
“We had a couple mistakes, but nothing that hurt us and came back to haunt us,” Shrader said. “They had all the pressure on them, being a ranked team going up against a team that doesn’t have a winning record. We were able to come in and just play softball, so that’s what we need to continue to do
Though this season’s record may not show it, this is a position the Demons have plenty of experience with, having advanced to the state tournament the previous two years.
“We’ve all stepped up,” Rausch said. “We are all having a fun time, even if we are losing, we are laughing in the dugout. We just stay happy and upbeat and do our best.”
The Demons will take on Clear Creek Amana at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Cedar Rapids Xavier high school.