Washington wins two against MP softball
All facets were working for the Washington softball team in a Thursday night Southeast Conference sweep of Mt. Pleasant — the Demons had the hitting, pitching and defense they needed to get the win.
They also had the promise of puppy chow as motivation.
Washington’s Ashley Rausch was celebrating a birthday yesterday, and she promised her teammates that she would bring them a birthday treat for after the game — on one condition.
“I threatened them with puppy chow — if we didn’t win, they wouldn’t get it,” Rausch said.
But the Demons ran away with both games, winning by scores of 11-1 and 13-1, and the snack just made the night sweeter.
Rausch played a big role in the wins, pitching game one and limiting the Panthers to just one run on five hits, while coming up with a few hits at the plate to help herself out — she went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles.
Maddie Bohr was on the mound for game two, and had another gem for the Demons. She also gave up just five hits for one run.
“They (Rausch and Bohr) struggled the other night at Keokuk with the strike zone, but came back and did a great job tonight,” Shrader said. “We just reminded them that they’ve got everyone behind them, and I think that gave them some confidence — they came out with some fire and pitched very well.”
“I just had to step up my confidence and mix up my pitches to keep them off-balance,” Rausch said.
But both Rausch and her coach credit the Demon’s bats with the victories.
“Our hitting (was the key to the win), definitely,” Rausch said.
“(We were) very aggressive at the plate,” Shrader said. “In both games, we got a quick lead, and then we had a couple really good innings.”
The Demons scored two runs in the first inning of the opener and three runs in the first frame of the nightcap.
Kaitlin Buchholz was 3-for-4 with a home run that smacked right into the scoreboard. In game two, Sammy Ellingson went 3-for-4, while Stephanie Fishback, Grace Redlinger and Kolbi Breard were each 2-for-3. Redlinger had a double.
Washington also got help from seven Mt. Pleasant errors in the doubleheader, and Coach Angie Rodgers notes that the young Panther team needs to work playing a smarter game.
“We’ve got (a young team) out there, and we’re playing against a team of juniors and seniors,” she said.
But it’s not all about age.
“We’re halfway through the season and there are things we should be executing, but we’re still struggling,” she added. “We need to work on mental toughness and playing all seven innings.”
The Panthers are also battling injuries that are keeping some of their veterans out of the game.
Goble, a senior, is only batting, out with a wrist injury after the game against New London.
Junior Leslie Taylor is also out with an injured ankle, which she sustained in the games at Burlington.
At the plate against Washington, it was freshman Morgan Fraise who led the Panthers in game one, going 2-for-3. Sammi Goble, Jena Stukerjurgen and Ali Dorn had one hit each, and Dorn knocked in the team’s only run.
In game two, it was Hattie Liechty who stepped up with a pair of hits. Goble, Stukerjurgen and Dorn also hit — Goble had a triple and scored on Sarah Moffett’s sacrifice fly.
Washington is now 20-8 overall and 10-4 in the Southeast Conference.
Mt. Pleasant is now 8-23 overall and falls to 2-10 in the conference. They play another conference doubleheader at Fairfield on Monday, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Both the Demons and the Panthers were also scheduled to play in the Mt. Vernon Tournament today, starting at 11 a.m.
“We just need to keep hitting and keep our confidence up and have a lot of fun,” Rausch said.