The Washington Demon softball team is headed back to state for the second year in a row.
One year after the Demons finished fourth, the best in school history, Washington is headed back to see if they can better that in 2013.
The Demons had to beat a North Scott Lancer team that was familiar to eight of the nine starters for Washington, and they did so 6-4.
Both teams had runners on in the first, but the Demons hit into a line drive, 4-3 double play, and Ashley Rausch stuck out the last two batters of the inning to keep it scoreless. In the second inning Stephanie Fishback walked to lead off, and at Bob Erusha field in Cedar Rapids the left field wall is 185 feet, but to hit a homerun, the ball must carry over that because of walls twice the height as most fields, and that was no problem for Grace Redlinger who stepped up with one out, and pulled a two-run-shot over the fence to put the Demons up 2-0 after two.
In the third inning, the top of the order for the Demons got involved with a single from Maddie Bohr, and a double from Sammy Ellingson brought up Kaitlin Buchholz who drilled one to Mckenna Heim at short, who dropped the ball, Bohr scored from third but Ellingson got caught in a run down and thrown out, but the Demons led 3-0, and that was the day for the first North Scott pitcher Anne DeVrises. Going 2 1/3 innings, and giving up three runs on five hits and a homerun.
North Scott came up in the third, and Heim singled from beating out a throw on a cleanly fielded ball, and made her way around the bases and home on a sacrifice to make it 3-1. The Lancers scored again in the fourth to make it 3-2 off a double by Caitlin O’Neil and another sacrifice.
Washington put some distance between themselves and the Lancers in the fifth with two runs, off a single by Ellingson who came home to score on a ball that bounced in front of the plate and left home empty with no one covering, and an RBI single from Fishback that scored the courtesy runner Emma Wood for Buchholz, and the second pitch for the Lancers Ali Rucker was done, throwing just two innings, giving up two runs on three hits, walking three and striking out three. Demons led after five 5-2.
In the sixth the Demons put up one more insurance run, from a single from Chayse Jaspering, and an RBI single from Buchholz made it 6-2. North Scott made a push in the sixth, getting a lead off double from Anna Boffeli, who came around to score off a fielders choice to make if 6-3, and in the seven, Heim got on and scored early in the inning to make it 6-4, but Rausch buckled down and slammed the door on the come back, getting Sydne Thomas to ground to Joni Erwin, who threw a bullet to first, and a yard sale of Demon equipment fell to the ground as they celebrated their second trip in as many years.
Rausch went all seven, giving up four earned runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out five, while she was 2-3 at the plate, and Grace Redlinger was 1-3 with a run, two RBI’s and a homerun.
The Lancers went through all three of their pitchers in the game.
After the game, Demon head coach Angie Shrader talked about the offense for the Demons and the pressure it caused North Scott
“It was a hard fought battle, I felt like we were in control for most of the game, obviously we gave up a couple of runs that they would not have scored has it been a much closer ball game,” Shrader said. “We made every pitcher leave the game because we kept jumping on them and scoring lots of runs and hitting the crap out of the ball, and they were down to their last pitcher and thankfully they didn’t have anybody else, and the innings were over for them, and they couldn’t get through with what they had.”
Washington will start their state tournament with maybe the hardest game of the season for them, against No. 1 in 4A Solon on Tuesday at 3:30. You can hear this game on AM and FM KCII and KCIIradio.com under radio plus with pregame at 3 and first pitch at 3:30 as KCII follows the Demons through the state tournament.