Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — For the second time this season, Washington had Fairfield dead to rights on the softball field. For the second time this season, the Trojans came back.
After a 5-1 Game 1 victory, Fairfield put together a two-out seventh-inning rally to knock off Washington 8-7 in Game 2 on Monday night.
The Trojans trailed 7-4 heading into the seventh inning, but a couple two-out defensive Demon miscues and a few timely Fairfield hits turned the game on its head.
It all started when Payton McCabe stepped up to the plate with a runner in scoring position and two down. McCabe seemingly grounded out in the infield, but the Demons couldn’t make the play, and Fairfield had a little life, now down 7-5.
Emersyn Manley sent a spinning infield single past first base to put the tying runner on, and Danielle Breen beat out an infield single to short stop to really put the pressure on.
“I know that if I hit it into the infield, I just have to use my speed to my advantage,” said Breen. “That's what I did.”
That all set up for Jenna Norris, who had already sent a ball off the fence earlier in the game. Norris lined one down the third-base line that scored a pair and tied the game up at 7-7.
“It's awesome when I can pull through for my team,” Norris said. “I just have to think through my basics, and know why I'm here, and be able to get those key hits for my team.”
A wild pitch sent Breen home to put the Trojans up 8-7, and ace pitcher Coty Engle came in to shut the Demons down in the bottom half of the inning.
The comeback victory was the second this year for the Trojans over the Demons. Fairfield rallied from three down in the seventh to win on a walk off grand slam by Manley earlier this season.
“I don’t even know what to say,” said Fairfield head coach Bob Bradfield. “For that to happen twice like it did is a little bit improbable.”
It was Washington’s sixth SEC loss by two runs or less, a frustrating number for a team that could otherwise very well still be in the race for the conference championship.
“It is frustrating because we're on the cusp,” said Washington head coach Ben Obermann. “We just can't get that last out.”
Norris went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs to lead Fairfield in Game 2. McCabe and Breen each had two hits and an RBI, and Engle finished with two hits.
Bella Salazar had two of the Demons’ four hits in the game, and also led the team with two RBIs.
Game 1 was highlighted by a dominant pitching outing by Engle, who held Washington to just two hits and one earned run in a complete-game win.
Fairfield’s Delaney Breen and Hannah Simpson each had two hits and an RBI in Game 1. Brynley Allison and Engle both had two hits, and Danielle Breen had a double.
Leighton Salazar and Kendall Hinrichsen each had singles for Washington in Game 1.
Fairfield is now 22-8 overall and 12-4 in conference play. Washington fell to 11-22 on the year, and 7-11 in the SEC.