Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
OXFORD – By the admission of its own head coach Washington wasn’t much of a two-out hitting team throughout the regular season.
The Demons picked the perfect time to remedy their two-out troubles.
Washington used five two-out runs to rally for a 6-4 win over Clear Creek Amana in a Class 4A, Region 5 quarterfinal on Thursday in Oxford.
“We haven’t been a great two-out hitting team this year but we were Tuesday night in our regular season finale and that carried over into tonight,” Washington coach Ben Obermann said. “That’s huge if you can get runs with two outs and if we don’t get those we are talking about a different outcome here.”
Washington (17-21) had six consecutive batters reach base with two outs in a four-run fifth inning that turned a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead it wouldn’t give up.
The Demons had three consecutive two-out RBI hits during its four-run fourth that sent Washington into the Region 5 semifinal on Saturday at tenth-ranked Newton (22-7).
Clear Creek Amana closed the season 16-19.
“You have to give them all the credit in the world, they played a great ball game,” Clear Creek Amana coach Matt Trosky said. “We had two outs (in the fifth inning) and Raina (Henze) was pitching well and a couple hits and a hit batter and the game changes and then we couldn’t get the train going again.”
Clear Creek Amana took an early 3-0 lead with three runs in the second inning.
Gabrielle Bedford put the Clippers up 1-0 with an RBI single and Abby Crow made it 3-0 with a two-run double down the leftfield line.
Clear Creek Amana had a 4-1 and had all the moment when sophomore Gracie Downes launched a solo home run to deep left field with one out in the fourth inning.
The Clippers were cruising up 4-1 when Washington switched the momentum in the fifth inning.
Pitcher Molly Sparks started the rally with a two-out single, Morgan Brinning was hit by a pitch and Cara Linnenkamp drew a walk to load the bases.
Megan Mitchell line a two-run single to cut the lead to 4-3 and Kaitlyn Mitchell tied the score with a double to left.
Haylee Wilson gave Washington its first lead with an RBI single.
“I wish I had an answer for how we did it then I could maybe get a degree in psychology or something,” Obermann said. “I think it is just our kids buying into the mindset of no matter what the score is we are going to compete. You have to give our kids a lot of credit, we battled.”
Clear Creek Amana had four hits in each of the first two innings but managed just one, the home run by Downes, over the final five innings.
Sparks retired the final 11 hitters she faced after allowing the home run to Downes in the fourth.
“Their pitcher threw well especially in the late innings and we didn’t execute as well as we would have liked to but you have to give Washington credit, she threw a heck of a game,” Trosky said. “She got better as the game went on.”
Sparks allowed four runs on nine hits and struck out six without walking a batter.
“We mixed a little bit more, we tried to go in and out,” Obermann said. “They are an aggressive hitting team so we tried to maybe cross pitch a little bit and spin the ball a little bit more and Molly did a great job.”
Raina Henze took the loss for Clear Creek Amana allowing five runs on eight hits in 4 2/3.
Karsyn Stratton, Bedford and Crow all had two hits for Clear Creek Amana while Allie Rummelhart had a double and Downes the home run.
The 16 wins for Clear Creek Amana were two more than the Clippers had a year ago when they finished 14-26.
“We made a lot of growth,” Trosky said. “We made a lot fewer errors, pitcher’s ERA’s were way down but we still have things we have to get to. We are at the hump and we have to find a way to get over it and that takes an entire team effort of players and coaches.”
Washington 001 041 0 – 6 10 0
Clear Creek Amana 030 100 0 – 4 9 3
W – Molly Sparks L – Raina Henze
2B – CCA: Allie Rummelhart, Abby Crow; WAS: Kinsey Duwa, Kaitlyn Mitchell
HR – CCA: Gracie Downes