Softball splits against FHSU on senior day

The Washburn Ichabod softball team wrapped up the home portion of their schedule Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader against the Fort Hays State Tigers. Saturday was also senior day where the Ichabods recognized six seniors: Emilee Baker, Megan Deiter, Taylor Kirk, Savannah Moore, Samantha Stallbaumer and Ashley Ruder.

After a slow offensive beginning to game one, the Ichabods opened the floodgates in the fourth and fifth innings with three in fourth and eight in the fifth to earn the run-rule victory, 11-2. Fort Hays State controlled game two getting out to a 6-0 lead. The Ichabods made a late push but couldn’t complete the comeback and fell by a final score of 6-4.

The Tigers scored the first two runs of the game on a pair of solo home runs in the second inning, but those would end up being the only two hits and runs of the game for Fort Hays State.

Washburn starter, Raegan Hamm buckled down after the home runs and kept her team in it until the offense was able to get going.

“I was really proud of her for that,” said freshman Maddie Stipsits. “It wasn’t the greatest start, but she adjusted and kept us in it.”

The bats finally came to life in the fourth inning when Winter Henry checked in at third base for a lead off triple and came home to score on a single by shortstop Taylor Kirk. Stipsits tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single, centerfielder Samantha Stallbaumer gave Washburn the lead with a single of her own.

The Ichabods made a slight adjustment offensively that ended up making all the difference.

“We just decided to start swinging at good pitches,” said third basemen Savannah Moore. “We were going after the first good pitch rather than waiting and getting down in the count and once we started doing that everybody started hitting.”

The fifth began with a single by Moore followed by a double by Henry and a walk to Kirk loaded the bases. Right fielder Ashley Ruder doubled to knock in two runs before Stipsits knocked in another two with a single to right.

Two more singles loaded the bases and set up Moore for a walk off grand slam to right center to cap an eight-run fifth inning and an 11-2 run-rule victory.

 The home run for Moore was a relief to help contribute offensively.

“It was pretty awesome,” said Moore. “I hadn’t hit great all day, so to get that hit was amazing. I just tried to keep it simple, hitting that first good pitch and not going for the home run. It was nice that it happened, but we don’t usually go for those, we’re just trying to go 60 feet.”

Game two saw the Tigers take advantage of three Washburn errors to put runs on the board. Fort Hays State scored in four of seven innings with two of their six runs being unearned.

Trailing 6-0 heading to the bottom the sixth, Washburn’s chances looked slim. It did not stop them from fighting, however. Left fielder Brianna Fuchs started the inning with a single and came around to score on a single by Henry.

Kirk doubled sending Henry to third, but the throw to third was wild and went into the Tiger dugout allowing Henry to score.

The Ichabods tacked on one more on a fielder choice groundout by sophomore Bri Francis to cut the lead in half headed to the seventh.

Another run scoring double by Henry made the score 6-4. Washburn loaded the bases with two outs, but Kirk struck out swinging to end the game.

Despite only surrendering two earned runs, freshman Bailey Zuniga took the loss in the circle.

The split moved Washburn’s record to 22-20 overall and 13-5 in the MIAA where they are currently third in the standings.

The Ichabods will be on the road Friday to take on Northeastern State for a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.