Washburn softball’s win streak hits 20 after sweep of No. 8 Hillcats, completes 26-0 home regular season


Kyle Manthe

Washburn’s team mobs senior Ashton Friend after she hit a walk-off home run April 25, 2022. Washburn defeated Rogers State 2-0 in game one of the day.

Twenty-six times Washburn softball has played at Gahnstrom Field this season and 26 times they have won. A sweep over No. 8 Rogers State Monday afternoon completed that accomplishment and moved the team’s overall win streak to 20 consecutive games.

The 2-0 and 3-2 wins moved the Ichabods to 40-11 on the year, the most wins for the program since the 2002 season where they won 48 games.

“Really just so proud of our kids, I mean, you are talking about the number eight team in the nation,” said head coach Brenda Holaday. “I thought our kids were fighters … we capitalized when we needed to and then our pitching and defense was really good.”

All five runs came on just two home run swings, the first two from senior Ashton Friend to walk-off game one and the final three by sophomore Autymn Schreiner to come from behind in the second game.

“This is unreal, I mean, this is probably the greatest win that I have experienced here at Washburn. Just to be a part of it is amazing,” Friend said.

“Just hearing it is surprising but I don’t doubt it because we worked so hard every single day for this and there is nobody more deserving,” Friend said of the 20-game win streak.

Two top-10 wins hope to provide a boost to the teams No. 7 Central Regional and No. 32 NFCA Coaches Poll rankings from the week before.

“Every kid’s goal at the Division II level is to get into the postseason and so anything we can do to help our cause is important,” Holaday said. “Last year at this time we couldn’t even think about that, we weren’t in that position. We’re at least in that position but there is still a lot of work to do.”

The sweep momentarily puts Washburn atop the MIAA standings over Central Oklahoma who has two more games left to play than the Ichabods.

Game one was a pitcher’s duel between sophomore star Jaycee Ginter, who leads Division II with 26 wins, and Andrea Morales for the Hillcats who boasted a 1.09 ERA entering the day.

The game lived up to expectations with both teams combining for just one hit over the first five innings.

“Morales for Rogers State is an All-American for a reason, she is so good and I think this is the first time we have beat her,” Holaday said.

Rogers State picked up its first hit in the sixth inning with a one out double, but Ginter was able to force two fly balls to keep the game scoreless.

Ginter cruised through the top of the seventh and led off the bottom of the inning with an infield single.

It was followed up by a 0-2 home run from Friend that bounced on and over the wall in center field to walk-off game one with a 2-0 victory.

“Honestly it was going to be all or nothing up there. I made solid contact and as I was running down first base. I was just hoping it would go and then once it went too many emotions rushed through me and it was just great, it was awesome,” Friend said.

Even after the wild win, Holaday was pleased with the discipline of the team to stay under control and focused for the second game.

“The funny thing is I still worry about that but I really don’t have to anymore,” Holaday said. “They did a really good job on their own switching gears and getting ready for the second game so the credit is to them, not me.”

Game two started in a similar fashion, with senior Raegen Hamm in the circle for the Ichabods.

The only offense on the day for Rogers State came in the third inning with a leadoff single and two-out home run which put the Hillcats up 2-0.

Washburn’s fifth inning began with a single from freshman Jaden LaBarge and was followed with another single by junior Kimi Patterson on a slow roller down the third base line.

Hitting ninth in the lineup Schreiner blasted a 3-1 pitch over the wall in left-center field for a three run home run, just her second of the year, to put the Ichabods in front 3-2.

Hamm exited after five innings, striking out five and allowing just two runs.

“The last two days she [Raegen] has done a really nice job for us and that’s huge when you are getting ready to go into the postseason you need a pitching staff,” Holaday said. “All three of those kids are performing for us and it makes a huge difference when you don’t have to put it on one person’s shoulders.”

Ginter entered for the second time in the day and pitched around two baserunners in the sixth inning before a much quicker seventh inning to finish the sweep and pick up her third save of the year.

The Ichabods will finish the regular season with a road doubleheader against Emporia State April 30.

Edited by: Simran Shrestha, Alyssa Storm