Ichabods drop first game back after three-week break

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Kyle Manthe

Fast pitch: Junior pitcher Raegen Hamm delivers a pitch in the first game of Washburn’s doubleheader against Central Oklahoma.

After a long three-week layoff, the Washburn University Softball team returned to action against a strong Central Oklahoma University team. The Ichabods entered the first game of the doubleheader on a two-game winning streak, boasting an overall record of 19-4 on the year. The Bronchos would be a tough opponent for Washburn to return to action against, with a record of 24-8 before the day began.

Junior pitcher Raegen Hamm began the day in the circle for the Ichabods and started the game walking two batters in the first inning but escaped without allowing a hit or run. The usually electric offense of Washburn started slow, picking up only two baserunners in the first two innings, scoring no runs.

In the circle, Hamm continued to shut down the offense of Central Oklahoma, setting down the next six hitters after the first inning, with six of her first nine outs coming through the air. In the bottom of the third inning freshman second baseman, Paige Robbins led off the inning with a single and stole a base. The stolen base was not necessary as junior designated player Ashton Friend hit a towering ball over the left-field foul pole for a two-run home run.

Even with two outs, the inning was not finished. After junior catcher Bri Francis singled she was brought home on a triple hit down the right-field line by freshman left fielder Jaycee Ginter, giving the Ichabods a 3-0 lead.

The Bronchos did not stay down for long, coming back to tie the game in the top of the fourth inning. After a walk and a double Amelya Huggins hit a three-run home run over the left-field fence. In the next inning after a runner reached by error and was moved over to third base Central Oklahoma was able to score another run to take a 4-3 lead on the only hit of the inning.

“When you are going against a team as good as UCO, a ranked team in the nation, you can’t make mistakes and we made several,” said Head Coach Brenda Holaday.

After the big third inning, the Ichabods had gone ten straight batters without reaching base entering the sixth inning. That streak was broken when Ginter singled with one out for her second hit of the day but nothing else was going for Washburn as the game moved into the seventh inning.

In the top of the seventh Hamm got some help in the inning from freshman shortstop Hadley Kerschen who caught the first out of the inning and started the double play that ended the inning with the game still at 4-3. The Ichabods picked up a hit in the inning from Robbins but just like the rest of the game could not put anything together after that, ending the game at 4-3.

“I was pretty proud of our first game, I thought we played hard and well,” said Holaday. “I thought we would struggle a little bit at the plate, we haven’t seen live pitching in three weeks and with very little opportunity to practice.”

The loss dropped Washburn to 19-5 on the season, but they would have a chance to respond and leave the series with a tie in the second game of the doubleheader that afternoon.

Edited by: Crystal Hendrix, Katrina Johnson, Matthew L. Self