Washburn baseball walks-off in game one against Fort Hays State


Kohichiro Yamada

Washburn’s infield meets on the mound Feb. 26, 2022. The Ichabods defeated Fort Hays State 3-2 in the game.

an 8-4 start in non-conference action, Washburn baseball opened up MIAA play with a three-game series against Fort Hays State beginning Friday, Feb. 26.

After going 8-4 outside the MIAA, the team brought its success into the first game of conference action, picking up a 3-2 win in twelve innings over the Tigers.

“I didn’t think we played very good today at the plate. I thought our pitchers continued to chuck it well and do a great job, on defense we had a couple of errors. I think we didn’t come with the standard that we normally do,” said head coach Harley Douglas. “It’s good to get a win, but we are a lot better than what we showed today.”

Starting for the Ichabods, senior Rane Pfeifer struggled with command early on, walking three of the first five batters to load the base. A single brought home one run, but two strikeouts avoided any additional damage and closed the frame.

Offensively, Washburn was quiet early on, managing only three baserunners through the first three innings.

On the mound, Pfeifer settled in, throwing three and two thirds innings, striking out six and only allowing the one run.

He was replaced by senior Dalton Huggins, who came on in the fourth inning with two down and runners on second and third, striking out the only batter he faced in the inning at the end of it.

“Huggy is that guy, and we know he can probably throw like a starter but he gives us so much more out of the bullpen when it comes to that,” Douglas said. “Sometimes it is hard to come out of the pen, but he goes with that and embraces it.”

The Ichabods did not pick up another base runner until the sixth inning via a leadoff single from junior first baseman Cale Savage. He was not on base long after senior second baseman Tyler Clark-Chiapparelli sent a ball over the left field wall for his second home run in as many games, putting Washburn up 2-1.

“They were going first-pitch fastball the first two at-bats of mine, so I was thinking he was going to try and blow one by me and I was going to turn on it,” Clark-Chiapparelli said.

In the seventh inning, the Ichabods had a chance to add to that total, picking up three hits in the inning. Two outs on the basepaths, one at second base and one at home to end the inning kept the lead at just one run.

Huggins continued to cruise into the ninth inning until Fort Hays was down to just a single out. Huggins walked one batter, and the next two came through with singles to score and tie the game. That is all that would score with the game moving to the bottom of the ninth.

Senior right fielder Parker Dunn led off the ninth with a double into right field and was advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. He would not be brought home as the game moved into extra innings with the score tied at two.

Senior Joel Casillas came onto the mound in the tenth inning and would throw scoreless frames in the tenth and eleventh innings.

Washburn picked up only one baserunner in the tenth and eleventh innings, leading to senior Zach Philbin coming on to pitch in the top of the twelfth inning. Two runners reached base on walks in the inning, but none came around to score.

Sophomore designated hitter Otto Jones walked with one out, and was moved to second base on a bunt single from junior shortstop Cal Watkins. Savage walked to load the bases, which allowed Clark-Chiapparelli to lift a fly ball into deep center field where he scored the game winning run.

“I was feeling good and I saw the ball well today [it was just] situational hitting,” Clark-Chiapparelli said. “Having our guys in the dugout staying behind our backs and keeping us going, that’s what we needed.”

Clark-Chiapparelli knocked in all three runs on the day while Watkins and sophomore Andrew Schmidtlein each had a two-hit day. The Ichabods bullpen of Huggins, Casillas and Philbin combined to pitch eight and a third innings, giving up only one run and striking out 12.

“I think we were waiting for them to give us that win, and that was the disappointing side of that,” Douglas said. “But to keep fighting and do that, I think that shows kind of the resilience these guys have.”

The win moved Washburn to 9-4 on the year and 1-0 in MIAA play with the final two games of the series coming in the next two days.

Edited by: Ellie Walker, Glorianna Noland