The Washington softball team pulled out the biggest game of the season yesterday, shocking the No. 3 team in the state Solon 6-1 in the opening round of the state softball tournament.
The Demons held the pedal to the metal the entire game and never gave up the lead from the first inning on.
In the first, the game started off with a breath holding moment, as the first ball hit of the game went to right center field and as Chayse Jaspering drifted over from right, Sammy Ellingson was doing the same in center and no one heard the call. Ellingson made the grab as her and Jaspering rubbed shoulders.
In the bottom of the first the Demons got two on with one out from singles from Ellingson and Kaitlin Buchholz off Spartan starter Emily Ira. Ashley Rausch hit into a fielders choice, but kept two on with two outs and then a single by Stephanie Fishback loaded the bases. Up to bat was Joni Erwin, who struggled a little in the post season going 1-6, but you wouldn’t know it with her at bat as she hit a ball to the right centerfield fence that scored three, and with some confusion between the outfielders Erwin came in on her first triple of the season and the Demons had the 3-0 lead.
In the second, Solon got their only run on the board, with a lead off double by Ali Herdliska and a sacrifice RBI by Emily Ira. Washington made the run back quickly in that inning though, getting a single from Breard, and then a single from Ellingson that also had a throwing error by the left fielder scored Jesse Buchholz to make it 4-1.
The Demons didn’t score again until the fourth, when they got a single with one out from Maddie Bohr, a sacrifice from Ellingson, and an RBI double from Kaitlin Buchholz finished up the day for Ira. Holly Hinkel came on in relief, but that didn’t help much as an RBI double by Ashley Rausch made the score 6-1 Demons. Ira who had a .71 ERA entering the game, left the game after 3 2/3 innings, giving up six runs, all earned and 10 hits with just one strikeout.
The fourth inning was it for the scoring, as Rausch and the Demons shut things down on defense, only allowing two hits on one error in the final three innings. In the seventh, Washington got the first two outs quickly on a 6-3 and 4-3 play. With two down Alyssa Rickels tried to make things interesting when she bunted her way on, but it made no difference as Taylor Nearad stepped up and hit a routine grounder to the defensive play leader Maddie Bohr and the Demon’s were moving on to the winners bracket.
Rausch went all seven, giving up just one run on five hits and two walks, and talked after the game about being in the circle in that final inning with 6-1 lead.
“It was nerve-racking a little bit, I mean it’s always will be every game, but I had that cushion, and I was able to believe that I can let some people score, even though I didn’t want to it’s okay, but we just needed to get three outs and be done,” Rausch said.
The Demons committed just one error that didn’t come back to do anything against them, and outhit the Spartans 12-5. Head coach Angie Shrader said this was a great game by her team that came in as underdogs to many, but never to the themselves or the Demon fans.
“The girls played extremely well, we had absolutely no pressure into this game, and beside the people wearing bright orange right here [a group of Demon fans] there was no one who expected us to win that ball game, and that is how we played, we played with no fear, we played with tons of confidence and we forced Solon into rushing some thing and hurrying, and when you can play with one error in the sixth inning and  hits, that’s awesome softball, and the thing is some people over looked us, and now we’re playing on Thursday,” Shrader said.
Offensively Ellingson was 2-2 with an RBI, Kaitlin Buchholz was 2-4 with two runs and an RBI, and Joni Erwin had the winning hit in the first, going 2-3 with her three RBI triple.
The Demons will play again tomorrow against No. 4 Carlisle who Washington beat in the first round last year 5-2. Catch all of the action with pregame at 5 and first pitch at 5:30 right here on AM and FM KCII and KCIIradio.com.