Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2017

Washington softball team wins on clutch hit

By Bill Gatchel | Jul 03, 2017
Photo by: Bill Gatchel Kaitlyn Mitchell takes a turn at bat in the game against Williamsburg Friday, June 30. She would hit the ball to left field to bring in the winning runs of the game in the bottom of the seventh.

What started out as a pitcher’s duel, ended with the play of the night, at the time when it needed to happen.

The Washington softball team faced Williamsburg Friday, June 30, in a non-conference game, which ended in a dynamic win for the Demons.

Both teams put in a strong effort through the first five innings as neither team would score.

In the top of the sixth, Williamsburg’s Kortni Gensley came home on an RBI double by Amaleah Weldon.

Washington would not be allowed to score in the bottom of the sixth.

Williamsburg’s chances at scoring in the top of the seventh were quashed on a double play by center fielder Kinsey Duwa who threw the ball to Hannah Anderson at third base to get the third out.

Duwa got on base on a walk to start off the Demons’ half of the seventh.

Pitcher Molly Sparks bunted the ball to get on first base and advance Duwa to second. Senior Jessie Buchholz also had a successful bunt to load the bases.

After Hannah Anderson was brought in as a courtesy runner for Sparks, Megan Mitchell hit a pop straight up to the pitcher for the first out.

Morgan Brinning hit a pop-up to second base, getting on first, but while Duwa was approaching home plate to tie the game, she was tagged out for the second out of the inning, while the bases remained loaded with Anderson on third, Buchholz on second and Brinning on first.

Kaitlyn Mitchell came up to the plate and hit the ball two left field brining in both Anderson and Buchholz to get the 2-1 win.

Kaitlyn Mitchell was beyond pleased with how the game ended in a victory.

“It’s really exciting because we were playing really well the whole game and just didn’t get that big hit earlier in the game.

“Knowing that bases were loaded, I knew I had to score something in. It was really good.”

Mitchell says there was no added pressure when she was at the plate.

“I knew I could hit the ball,” she says.

The ball landed in center field, but it wasn’t only the location of where it landed that helped win the game.

“Jessie is really fast,” Mitchell says. “I knew that she could probably get in, too. If it’s deep enough, then it’s able to get two runs in.”

Helping the lone senior on the team score the game-winning run is a great feeling, Mitchell says.

“It feels really good,” she says. “We definitely needed to get the win just because it was senior night and Jessie has been a really good teammate all year, so I’m really glad she was able to score the winning run.”

Buchholz says it was enjoyable to score the winning run.

“As a senior, it was really exciting to win the game, especially with all my family here coming to see me.

“If it weren’t for Kaitlyn coming up with that clutch hit, I don’t think I would have made it.”

As for the entire game, coach Ben Obermann is grateful the team won on senior night.

“It’s an exciting win, that’s for sure,” Obermann said.

“It was stressful until that last inning, and even that one was stressful, with the bases loaded and nobody out.

“We were down to our last out trying to get the clutch hit.

“It was a little disappointing not having many quality at-bats early in the game, but it says a lot about our girls.

“They stayed in it. Sometimes it’s just not going to happen offensively, but Molly [Sparks] and our defense did a great job of keeping us in the game.

“That’s why we had a chance to win it. We made some big plays defensively.

“Molly made some pitches to keep it a one-run game going into the bottom of the seventh.

“First, Kinsey Duwa started off the inning with a great at-bat, working on a walk. Then the girls played a little bit of small ball to get us in that position.

“I give Kaitlyn Mitchell a lot of credit. She was cool, calm and collected.

“She came up with the big hit. It was an exciting way to win on Senior Night.”

When the game stays close, it’s frustrating for Obermann.

“It makes me a little bit mad because I’m a big offensive guy. I always loved to hit when I played.

“It makes me frustrated when we’re not scoring runs and not stringing hits together, but that’s the game.

“Sometimes you’re in these types of games. We play all different types of softball games: high scoring games, games where we’ve come back from behind, games where teams have caught us and we’ve had to rebound.

“These are types of games we have to be ready for come tournament time.”

Speaking of tournament, the girls face Central DeWitt in the first round Thursday, July 6. How does Obermann think it will go?

“Central DeWitt’s record is much better than what their record shows. They play in the WAMAC (Wapsipinicon, Maquoketa Cedar) Conference just like Williamsburg.

“They are very, very tough. We’re going to have to be ready to go.

“We’re going to worry about ourselves, keep preaching fundamentals in practice so we can play solidly.

“If we pitch early and play defense like we did tonight, we’re going to be in every game.”

Both Mitchell and Buchholz agree.

“I think that if we start out in the first inning and our defense is solid, we will be able to get a couple wins and keep moving on,” Mitchell says.

“I think if we come out strong, then we’ll have a really good chance,” Buchholz says.

“We’ve been struggling getting good hits in the first few innings but if we start out strong, I think we’ll come out [with a win].”

The girls have an 18-17 record and will be host to Central Lee tonight (Monday), starting at 5:30 p.m.

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