By Doug Brenneman, JOURNAL Sports Editor
It took four games for the Washington High School softball team to get its first win, but the Demons are looking at the big picture.
?Our goal is to win the conference and make it to the state tournament,? Washington head softball coach Ben Obermann said.
These games are basically preseason for the Demons.
?We want to focus on the process and doing things the right way,? Obermann said.
Washington took a road trip Tuesday and gave Anamosa all it could handle, but lost a doubleheader 10-9 and 7-3.
The Demons hosted Iowa City Liberty Wednesday and lost 7-3 in the first game. Washington trailed 7-4 in the second game before mounting a rally that saw it win by the mercy rule 17-7 in five innings.
?I thought we bounced back well against a young talented Liberty team,? Obermann said. ?I?m proud that we got that first win of the year.?
At Anamosa, the Demons rallied with four runs in the fourth inning to lead 4-3 in the opener. Each team scored a run in the fifth and the Demons took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but the home team tied it.
In the first extra inning, both teams scored four runs apiece. The home team pushed across a run in the bottom of the ninth to win.
Alexa Mitchell was 3 for 5 with two doubles and a pair of runs batted in. Haylee Wilson went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBI. Molly Sparks went 8 1/3 innings with five strikeouts, two walks and four earned runs.
In the second game, Anamosa scored all seven of its runs in the second inning. The Demons chipped away at the lead with two runs in the fourth and a run in the seventh. Mitchell allowed seven earned runs with one walk and one strikeout. Tori Brush went 2 for 3 at the plate.
?If we are going to reach our goal, we have to work on our defense,? Obermann said. ?And the girls know that. They are hard workers. If we can shore up our defense, then the way our offense has been, we will be all right. Three of the four games we played so far our offense has been really good swinging the bats.?
Wednesday?s game started well for Washington. The second Liberty batter of the game got a base hit but was thrown out trying to steal second by catcher Kellie Dallmeyer. The Demons put three runs on the board in the bottom of the first inning with the help of Mitchell?s two-run single and Wilson?s RBI groundout. That was all the runs Washington would score.
?That pitcher was throwing upper 50s,? Obermann said. ?She had a little bit a span, a little rise ball and that gave us some issues. She was a little wild in the first inning but then she started locating.?
Liberty took the lead with four runs in the fourth inning, added two more in the fifth and one in the sixth on Sparks, who gave up nine hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
The Demons loaded the bases in the sixth inning but couldn?t push a run across. A base running error led to the end of the inning.
?That did not cost us by any means,? Obermann said. ?We just did not do enough offensively. We just got beat by a good pitcher.?
Mitchell went 2 for 4 for Washington.
?We have some things to work on defensively,? Obermann said. ?We definitely need to clean some things up and the girls know that.?
The second game was up and down but the Demons fought back with 13 runs in the final two innings to get their first win.
Morgan Brinning reached base all five at bats in the second game for Washington. That is important for the batter in the leadoff spot.
The Demons received eight walks and saw Liberty commit seven errors.
Part of that was the Demons? ability to put the ball in play in the fourth and fifth innings and put pressure on the visitors? defense.
?We kept battling hard enough to get them,? Obermann said. ?That is a testament to our girls. It has been a long two days for us.?