Washburn softball pushes past Pitt State in sweep


Jesse Bruner

Washburn pitcher Raegen Hamm (22) pitches Saturday April. 16, 2022, at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. Hamm pitched 5.1 innings in game two of the day.

Gahnstrom Field continues to be a special place for Washburn softball as they move to 22-0 on the field for the season after a sweep over Pittsburg State.

The 5-0 and 12-6 games move the Ichabods to 36-11 on the season and extends its winning streak to 16 games, one short of the longest of the season.

Prior to the weekend of play, Washburn received votes in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association top-25 poll for the first time, landing at 33.

“I think it’s respect,” said head coach Brenda Holaday. “I think our kids have earned that respect so I am happy for them. I don’t spend a lot of time on it but I do think it’s a message of respect for your team.”

With just two weeks to go in regular season play, the Ichabods moved into second place in MIAA standings, passing Rogers State, as the team enters the stretch run of the season.

“I knew we were good but it kind of surprised me,” said freshman Jaden LaBarge who had four RBIs on the day. “I figured every team would have their ups and downs, I mean we have had ups and downs, but so far we have been pretty good at keeping it [going].”

Ginter started that process the same way she did the day before, with three quick innings of work in the circle, allowing just two hits and no runs.

Washburn’s bats came alive in the third inning with singles from junior Hadley Kerschen, sophomore Paige Robbins, and Ginter loading the bases. Senior Ashton Friend walks to bring home the game’s first run.

LaBarge hit a sacrificial fly into left field to score a second run, putting the Ichabods up 2-0 after three played.

Washburn strung together three straight one-out hits in the fourth inning, starting with a single from senior Maddie Stipsits. Kerschen and Mead followed with singles of their own, with Mead’s bringing home Stipsits to make it 3-0.

A single from Robbins loaded up the bases, allowing Friend to pick up her second bases loaded walk, scoring another run. LaBarge followed with a walk of her own, making it 5-0.

That would be the last run of the game as Ginter cruised through the Pittsburg State order, going all seven innings and giving up five hits while striking out five. She claimed the win, moving her to 23-3 on the season.

“I thought we played a really clean first game, I didn’t think it was our best game but I thought Jaycee handled it really well on the mound,” Holaday said.

Junior Ashlie Thissen got the start in game two as the Gorillas quickly surpassed its game one scoring output, plating two unearned runs in the first inning on three hits in two errors.

In the bottom of the first, Ginter reached on an error and moved to second base before she was driven home on a single into right field from Friend, cutting the lead in half.

Thissen got two outs in the second before senior Raegen Hamm took over in the circle, closing out the inning without allowing a run.

The first six batters for Washburn reached in the second inning, with a double from sophomore Kimi Patterson leading things off. The bases got loaded up for Kerschen who singled into right field to tie the game at two.

Mead followed with her own single, scoring another run to take the lead. Robbins cleared the bases with a triple into the left field corner, picking up three RBIs. Ginter finished the inning with a sacrifice fly to score Robbins and make it a 7-2 game after two innings.

Pittsburg State responded quickly with a single followed by a home run over the right field wall. Two more hits later in the inning cut the lead down to just two runs after the rally.

Patterson wasted no time responding in the bottom of the inning, leading off and driving the first pitch she saw over the right field wall for a solo home run to take a 8-5 lead.

The Ichabods added one more in the fourth on a double from LaBarge, scoring Ginter who was hit by a pitch.

The score stayed the same until LaBarge was in the box in the fifth inning, this time she singled to score Robbins who singled. The run put Washburn up by five runs after five innings.

“I kind of changed my mental approach this weekend compared to last weekend and just trying to stay within myself and relaxing at the plate instead of trying to do too much,” LaBarge said.

The Gorillas plated one unearned run in the sixth to pull within four. Ginter quickly got it back and more, with a two-RBI single in the bottom of the inning, making it 12-6. Hamm finished the game in the seventh, and earned the win after 5.1 innings of work.

“The second game we got hits up and down our lineup and I was proud of that. I also was proud of Raegen Hamm,” Holaday said. “Her and Ashlie gave us great innings the last two days which this time of the season when people are tired that’s important.”

Hamm moved to 9-6 on the year with the victory as Washburn tallied 15 hits, led by three from Friend. Robbins and Ginter each drove in three runs.

The Ichabods will stay home next weekend with a pair of doubleheaders beginning with Northeastern State University Friday, April 23.

Edited by: Alyssa Storm, Simran Shrestha