The pitchers were in the spot light last night, and it was Highland’s Katie Springer who got the best of Washington’s Ashley Rausch.
Highland had played three games in three days leading up to the game against Washington and they made it four straight wins, while one inning haunted the Demons in the 4-3 loss.
In the first, Washington was up first and it was Stephanie Fishback leading off getting on off an odd balk call from the catcher throwing down to third on a called ball three. Springer did a good job with the next two batters to make them pop out and then walked Kolbi Breard to put two on and two down. Morgan Brinning stepped up and got the first hit of the game for Washington and drove in Fishback to go up 1-0.
In the bottom of the first, Highland showed why they are so good with some great base running. Kelsey Hora got on off a single, and stole second, took third on a passed ball, and by the third batter she came home off a sacrifice bunt that tied it 1-1.
Once both teams scored one, the pitcher shut the doors, with Rausch striking out nine in the game and only having one hit off of her in innings 2-4. Springer allowed a hit an inning, but the Demons couldn’t do anything with it as Springer made sure she pitched it so the Demons popped up.
In the fifth inning, the Demons struck again with a single from Fishback and a deep RBI double from Grace Redlinger to go up 2-1, but then it was the bottom of the fifth. Katie Chalupa got on on an error, Jordan Rath was walked, and then on a 6-3 play on Kelsey Hora, the tying run scored. An error on a hit by Bridget Murphy scored the go-ahead run, and then a big RBI triple by Courtnee Hahn added the eventual winning run as Highland led 4-2.
Both teams were shut down in the sixth inning, and in the seventh, Washington needed two runs, and they could only get one off of an RBI double from Rausch to make the final 4-3 score.
Demon head coach Angie Shrader said there were some mistakes made, but for the crew they had and the changes they made, they just need to prevent that bad inning.
“There were some good things we saw tonight, Ashley, I thought, threw a fantastic game, and batting wise for us, yeah we faced a good pitcher, but we didn’t strikeout, we put the ball in play and made them make plays. We’ll take Ashley’s nine strikeouts over our one because we put the ball in play and made them make plays,” Shrader said. “Take out one inning where you give up one hit and have three errors and you let them score three runs, it’s a completely different situation.”
Highland head coach Carrie Wieland said despite going 4-0 on the week and making a statement with her No. 2 team in 2A, they could stay out of the rankings all year long.
“Top five, we can stay out of it all year if we needed to, top 10, it doesn’t really matter to me, and I think just think that the girls just do such a good job of playing together, that I even have girls on the bench that I know I can go to and we work hard at practice,” Wieland said. “The 4-0, I don’t really look at it that way, last year we were in the same boat kind of. I think the game with Washington is a great game, and it is going to be a good game all of the time.”
In the circle, Springer got the win, going seven innings with seven hits, three runs, two earned and three strikeouts, while Rausch pitched six innings with two hits, four runs, two earned and nine strikeouts in the loss. Rausch was the only player with multiple hits in the game, going 2-4 with an RBI.