The Washington Demons are sole conference Champions after sweeping the Bloodhounds last night in the final Southeast conference double header of the season.
The Demons didn’t do it without a little drama though.
In game one Washington and Ft. Madison tested the waters, and both had scoring chances in the first two innings, but could not convert, but in the third offense was open for business. Washington batted through the order and then some scoring 10 runs in the inning. Bohr got on to lead off, and then Ellingson flew out to center for one out, then Buchholz hit a ball to left center field that reached the fence, Bohr scored and Buchholz chugged along to second and then to third and then on a passed throw kept going all the way to home scoring an inside the park homerun off the throwing error, making the score 2-0. The Demons continued to produce with a double from Ashley Rausch, and hits from Fishback, Bohr again, Ellingson and a RBI double by Rausch her second time up in the inning, to finally make the score 10-0.
Ft. Madison made their own little rally though in the third, getting a lead off walk, and then hits, walks and an error led to the Bloodhounds making it 10-3.
In the fourth the Demons got a one out solo shot from Grace Redlinger to make the score 11-3, but again Ft. Madison came back and loaded the bases, which ended Rausch’s game one appearance and brought on Amber Linnenkamp in relief, Rausch went 3 1/3 with four hits, four earned runs, four walks and two strikeouts. Linnenkamp would let one hit against her in the fourth to let one more run across to make the score 11-4. The Bloodhounds got another run in the fifth off a solo shot from Lany Burke to make it 11-5. In the sixth the Demons put another insurance run on the board, after a double by Joni Erwin, an error by Daylan Rainbolt scored Erwin to make it 12-5, but again Ft. Madison had two hits to lead off the inning, a couple of outs, and then a two RBI double to make the score 12-7.
The seventh inning the Demons scored no runs, but the Bloodhounds continued to make it interesting, leading off with a double from Alexis Pumphrey, and then an error put two on, and then a two RBI double made the score 12-9. Kayla Culbertson then singled and the tying run came to the plate with one out. Kaylin Featheringill popped up to Buchholz at catcher, and then Rainbolt got caught looking and the Demons earned a share of the conference title.
Then in game two, it was Maddie Bohr in the circle to start the game, and the Demons got on the board quickly with a single from Sammy Ellingson and an RBI single from Ashley Rausch put the Demons up 1-0. Both teams had a couple of short order innings, before Ft. Madison threatened with the bases loaded for the first time in the game, but Bohr gets out of it with nothing done. Washington scored two more in the fourth, after a walk and a single put two on, a single by Erwin drove home the run, and then a double steal scored Stephanie Fishback to make it 3-0.
In the fifth, the Demons had their rally inning, getting four hits, and scoring four, with doubles from Breard and an RBI double from Buchholz, to make the score 7-0, but that wasn’t enough, as in the fifth inning Ft. Madison loaded the bases again and this time put three up on the board to make the score 7-3 after five, and in the sixth, batted through the order, and after a two RBI triple by Chayse Lowney, and another couple of runs driven in it was tied 7-7. Washington came back up with the top of the order in the seventh, and had a lead off triple from Maddie Bohr, and RBI single from Sammy Ellingson who worked her way over to third and took home, and a single by Rausch that would come home to score off the RBI single from Erwin to make it 10-7.
The Bloodhounds never gave up though, with Rausch coming in relief the last inning, she stayed in there and Ft. Madison led off with a double, and then a walk, gave Alexis Pumphrey the sacrifice fly to make the score 10-8, and error made things interesting, but Rausch got Kayla Culbertson looking and Featheringill popped up to Bohr to end the game, and give the Demons the sole conference title for the second year in a row.
The combined score of both games was 22-17, and 152 recorded at bats.
Demon head softball coach Angie Shrader said she was thrilled for her girls, and tonight they just wanted it more.
“I think our kids just absolutely wanted it more than Ft. Madison, and we deserved it, I mean they fought for it every tooth and nail and they wanted every single pitch to come to them, and they were ready every at bat, and they hit the ball really well, it is something that we worked on the last couple of days, and they’re pitching is really hard to time and it works for them, it’s not extremely fast, but we finally got out bats going and we may see them again, but hopefully we won’t make it as dramatic, but we’ll take the win however it is and we’ll take two,” Shrader said.
Washington will play one more game on Wednesday before the tournament against Cedar Rapids Prairie.