Softball sweeps home-opening doubleheader over Tritons


Kohichiro Yamada

Teammates congratulate senior Ashton Friend after a home run Feb. 20, 2022, Topeka, Kansas. Friend had three RBI’s in game one of the team’s doubleheader.

Washburn softball opened its home slate of games early after the ESU Classic was moved from Emporia to Gahnstrom field due to weather conditions.

“Our kids and our coaches worked their tails off to get this field ready. We hand-scooped this whole thing and their bodies were sore,” said head coach Brenda Holaday.

The Ichabods started the year 3-6 as they entered into a Sunday doubleheader against the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

In the circle, sophomore pitcher Jaycee Ginter began her dominant day by striking out the side in the top of the first inning.

In the bottom of the inning, sophomore shortstop Autymn Schreiner and freshman first baseman Jaden LaBarge reached the base before senior designated player Ashton Friend sent a ball over the center field fence to give Washburn a 3-0 lead.

The score stayed that way into the third inning when junior right fielder Maddie Stipsits singled to drive in senior Friend and sophomore second baseman Hadley Kerschen, making it a five run game.
In the next inning, leadoff hitter and sophomore third baseman Marrit Mead connected on the first pitch for a solo home run.

Ginter surrendered two hits and two walks in the top of the fifth inning, but the Tritons were only able to get back the one run, making it 6-1 into the bottom of the fifth. That would be the only run scored on Ginter in the game, as she pitched a complete game.

“She missed the first couple weeks of the season with an injury, so she is still getting her stamina back. But if the game is on the line, she is who you want on the mound,” Holaday said.

The fifth would be the final inning as Mead drove in both Ginter and sophomore center fielder Kimi Patterson to make it 8-1. A single into center field by Kerschen would drive in Mead and end the game via run rule, 9-1.

In the second game of the doubleheader, UMSL struck right away, scoring one in the first inning off of LaBarge who made the start.

The Tritons added two more runs in the second inning off of senior Raegen Hamm to mount a 3-0 lead early on.

In the bottom of the second inning, Washburn first responded with a bases-loaded walk from Mead to score Patterson. With the bases still loaded, Kerschen lined a ball to the left field wall to clear the bases and put the Ichabods up 4-3.

UMSL picked up two hits and a walk for one run in the top of the third, and it could have been much worse for the Bods if not for an inning-ending double play from Patterson in left field to freshman catcher Kaylee Wagner to get the tag on the runner at home.

Sophomore pitcher Ashlie Thissen had entered the circle for the Ichabods in the second inning and pitched into the fourth, allowing only one run over the stretch.

The score stayed knotted until the bottom of the fifth when Friend sent her second ball of the day over the left field fence to give Washburn a one-run lead.

Ginter came back on to replace Thissen and pitched in her second game of the day. In the sixth inning she surrendered a walk, which was followed up by a home run from Triton’s senior Megan Brown, putting them up by one.

The Ichabods wasted no time mounting a comeback with Schriner leading off the bottom of the sixth with a home run to tie the game. The next two batters to the plate, Kerschen and LaBarge, reached via hit by pitch and error respectively.

Those mistakes set up Friend to launch her third home run of the day, this time into right field and break the game open. Washburn added one more run on a single from Stipsits to score Ginter from first base.

Ginter would stay on in the seventh inning, allowing only one base runner before retiring UMSL and ending the game with a 10-6 win.

The win was credited in the circle to Ginter, who picked up two wins in a span of four hours.

“I feel like last week I kind of struggled to start, but this week and during practice this week I felt like I’m back,” Ginter said after returning from a concussion.

On the day, Friend picked up seven RBIs on four hits-with three being home runs- to lead the offensive charge. Kerschen and Mead were both productive as well, picking up four hits and four RBIs each through the two games.

“Marrit and Auty and Hadley and Ashton, there is a reason that three of those four were all-conference kids a year ago,” Holaday said. “We count on them for an awful lot and if they don’t hit, we probably don’t win ball games.”

In the circle, Ginter threw a combined eight and two-thirds innings, allowing only three runs combined.

The two wins move the Ichabods to 5-6 on the year as they get ready for a double-header the next day against Quincy University to wrap up the ESU Classic.

Edited by: Ellie Walker, Simran Shrestha, Justin Shepard