Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — Monday did not start well for the Washington Demons softball team in the Southeast Conference doubleheader with visiting Keokuk. It ended well with two mercy-rule victories, 11-1 and 10-0.
Isabella Salazar gave up three hits and a run in the first five batters. She finished the game by allowing just two more hits, finishing with four walks and four strikeouts.
It may have helped that the Demon offense put up three runs in the bottom of the first inning when leadoff batter Ava Turner doubled, followed by Kellie Dallmeyer’s double and Emmy Wenger’s double. Salazar hit a two-out double herself and finished 3-for-3. Wenger had another double as well.
“We are just trying to hit our peak. We are working hard,” Turner said. “On offense, we are trying to get in a rhythm. On defense, we’re trying to make sure we stick to the fundamentals.”
The Demons ended it with four runs in the sixth inning. The second game ended with a run scoring on a passed ball to put the Demons record at16-14, 10-5 in the SEC while Keokuk is 7-17, 5-7.
Halle Cuddeback gave up two hits, a walk and struck out two in the second game win. Run support came from Haley Mitchell and Ella Greiner with two RBIs each. Dallmeyer and Turner had two hits apiece.
Turner led off both games by scoring a run.
“When she gets on to start off a game, I think we are going to score most every time,” Washington head coach Ben Obermann said. “Her bat speed is astronomically better than it was in the past. Now she’s a junior and an upperclassman. She’s got experience from the past years and she’s been awesome in the leadoff spot for us.”
"I just try to make solid contact,“ Turner said. ”I don’t know that I aim for anywhere. Just depends on where the pitch is.“
It was early on in the spring when Obermann thought she would be good as the No. 1 batter and that she could handle it. He had seen her in open gyms, playing spring ball and in practices.
“Ava has a good approach, doesn’t swing at bad pitches, gets ahead in the count, just a great table setter,” Obermann said.
“I feel like there’s a little bit of pressure with being first to bat,” Turner said. “I try not to think about it.”
The Demons have the playoffs coming up and made it to a regional final last season.
“I don’t know that we’re doing anything different from last year to prepare for the postseason,” Turner said. “Coach just always wants us to be playing our best at that time of year.”