Washington gets clutch win, then demolition triumph

By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports


LETTS -- The Demons got the best of both worlds in their baseball doubleheader against Louisa-Muscatine Friday.

Washington High School had to come from behind in a close game to score a clutch win of 8-4 in the opener and then rolled to an easy 22-0 win in the second game.

The nightcap game still had some suspense as Washington had a perfect game into the fourth inning but lost the no-hitter and a perfect game on consecutive pitches.

?It?s not how you start, it?s how you finish,? Washington head coach Nathan Miller said. ?It was like we woke up in the sixth inning (of the first game), it really was.?

Brant Stout led off the night with a single, stole second, advanced on a ground out and scored on Luke Turner?s sacrifice fly.

Louisa-Muscatine put a run on the board in the second inning, another in the third and one in the fifth off of Demons? starter Jacob Hall, who only gave up two hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Only one run was earned.

?It was one of those games where I don?t know what it was because we had a great pregame routine,? Miller said. ?We did great in the cages before we left. The guys were loose and ready to go. It wasn?t that we were nervous or hesitant. For some reason, we could just not get the ball rolling. Part of it is their pitcher did a really nice job. He was throwing to the zone and had a nice breaking ball. That kept us off balance. It seemed like we lost our way. We lost our direction and what has got us here so far.?

Zach Bieri threw 5 1/3 innings for the Falcons and allowed six hits with five strikeouts but four walks.

Hall threw the first five innings and gave up just his second hit of the game to the first batter in the sixth inning and was lifted for Chase McDole. He walked two and struck out two and was replaced by Turner with one out in the seventh inning.

Washington tied it at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning when Kiowa Keith singled, was sacrificed to second, went to third on Cade Hennigan?s single and scored on a Luke Turner hit.

The Demons tied it at 3-3 in the top of the sixth inning when a Stout single scored courtesy runner Brandon Dickel.

Washington finally got it rolling with five runs in the seventh inning. Witthoft strted things with a double. Brady Knutson then scored Witthoft with a single. Hall was hit by a pitch. Kiowa Keith then smacked a two-out single that scored two runs. Hennigan laced a double that scored two more.

?You have to credit our guys,? Miller said. ?We played the best two innings of that game in the last two innings. That is extremely important. Our guys did a great job.?

Turner came on the mound and shut the door on L-M.

?That was huge,? Miller said. ?We got some great at-bats in the last inning that gave us the lead and helped break it wide open.?

Wide open could describe the second game. The Demons batted around in every inning, sending 10 to the plate in the first inning, 14 in the second, 10 in the third and 11 in the fourth.

?That was great but what I liked was that we maintained our discipline at the plate, even when the game got out of control,? Miller said. ?They weren?t just swinging away at pitches just to swing at them. They maintained their discipline and that?s why there was a lot of walks (14). We had some great at-bats in the second game and that was a great team effort.?

Knutson went 3 for 3 while Hennigan, Turner and Kole Hinrichsen had two hits apiece. Knutson batted in five runs and Turner four.

Hinrichsen got the win, pitching a 1-2-3 first inning with two whiffs. Kiowa Keith set down three straight batters in the second inning on punch outs. Ben Loy fanned two in a 1-2-3 third inning. Loy walked the first batter of the fourth inning to lose the perfect game and gave up a hit on the first pitch to the next batter. He then got a ground out, a pop up and a ground out to end the game.

?Pitching-wise Kole came in and did a great job,? Miller said. ?Kiowa threw great and Ben finished things up for us. All three of those guys did a fantastic job.?

Washington assistant coach TJ Rausch and Miller knew a perfect game was happening.

?We were looking at each other and we did not want to say it because of the whole jinx thing,? Miller said. ?We lost a perfect game and a no-no on back-to-back pitches. That?s the way it goes. What I liked the most about the second game was from the very beginning, it felt like how it?s been all season. The guys were playing loose and confident and playing for one another. We were not as tense as we were in the first game.?

Washington ups its record to 14-6 and has a doubleheader today at Keokuk.