Washington cruises through first round
Two days after being outscored 15-1 in a doubleheader at Fort Madison, Washington softball was determined to flip the script.
With the first swing of the bat, the Demons did just that on Thursday night.
A Chayse Jaspering double on the first pitch of the game sparked an offensive outpouring as Washington rolled to a 10-5 district victory over Fort Madison to advance to face Davenport Assumption on Saturday night.
“They came ready to play,” Demon softball coach Angie Shrader said. “When Chayse hits a double on the first pitch, it sets the tone for the rest of the game. Within four pitches we are on the board with a run. It’s a one-and-done situation and we knew we had to be ready to play. It always gives confidence to a pitcher knowing that we have three runs on the board.”
After Breard’s RBI, Washington made it a three-run first inning, giving top pitcher Ashley Rausch some room to work.
A Fort Madison two-run homer in the third closed the gap to one, but the Demons added six runs over the next two innings to secure the victory.
Raush finished the game with the win, striking out nine batters on six hits and two walks, with four of the five runs allowed being earned.
“Ashley was throwing really well the first few innings and I think they got into a rhythm,” Shrader said. “They scored a couple runs, but we answered right back almost every inning. She was hitting her spots and keeping her off balance. The defense played well behind her and it helped her confidence knowing that if she missed her spot, they’d be behind her.”
Offensively for Washington, the top four hitters in the order connected on multi-hit games, with Jaspering, Breard, Rausch and Grace Redlinger each picking up two hits in the game.
Jaspering picked up two RBIs and two runs in the game, while Rausch knocked in two runs and Redlinger came across to score twice.
Morgan Brinning, who has been dealing with a broken finger, saw her first at-bat since June 30, appearing as a pinch hitter and going 0-for-1, scoring a run in the game.
The eighth-grader, who has seen a lot of playing time this year for Washington, could see some playing in the field fairly soon.
“She felt good,” Shrader said. “It is hard to come back after not being able to swing a bat for a couple weeks. We are getting her into the process of coming back to the game, being used as a runner to keep her active and keep her mind in the game. It might be a situation where we can use her more as a batter and possibly at second base. We don’t want to put her in a spot where we aren’t going to let that finger heal properly.”
This game was the fifth time Washington had seen Fort Madison this season, and while the next playoff opponent comes in the form of No. 7 ranked Davenport Assumption, Shrader said the team is looking forward to playing them.
“The first one is always the most important,” Shrader said. “Playing someone in our conference is always tougher than someone else, even if they are ranked as high as Davenport Assumption is. They overthink the game and over-process things, and playing Assumption, where we haven’t seen them yet this year, it’s a bigger advantage for our players because they can just play softball.”
Going up against a highly ranked opponent isn’t something new to the Demons, who ousted highly ranked Solon in the first round of last year’s state tournament.
“We strive being the underdog,” Shrader said. “We did that last year against Solon (at state), who was one of the favorites to win the tournament. We came out guns blazing and ready to play and we took them out of the first round. Playing ranked teams is not something that is new to us. We don’t have any pressure on us, because they are the ranked team, and they are the ones everyone figures to win.”
The game will be in Davenport on Saturday and will begin at 5 p.m.