WASHINGTON — It was one bad pitch in the first game and one bad inning in the second game for the Washington Demons in a softball doubleheader against visiting Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Wednesday.
On a night when Washington celebrated seniors Alexa and Katelyn Mitchell, Kinsey Duwa, and Halle Leyden, the Demons could not get a win but showed a lot of spirit in rallying in both games.
A walk preceded a home run to put the Demons in a 2-0 hole two batters into the opening game’s 4-2 loss. Five walks in a five-run second inning was the difference in the 8-5 defeat in the nightcap.
“We are doing better than earlier in the year in limiting free bases but they were still the difference,” Washington head coach Ben Obermann said. “Walks are killers.”
Cara Linnenkamp took the loss in the opener, allowing six hits with four walks and four strikeouts. She connected on a two-run double in the seventh inning.
“We need to score more than two runs when Cara gives us that effort,” Obermann said. “I want this to build momentum for us.”
Kaitlyn Mitchell led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run, but the next Demon score was Leyden’s RBI-double in the fifth. Kellie Dallmeyer’s sacrifice scored a run and Linnenkamp had another double that made the score 8-4. Duwa singled in the seventh and scored on Linnenkamp’s single.
“We are starting out in first gear then second gear and maybe we get a third gear in the third and then in the sixth or seventh, we finally put it into fifth gear,” Obermann said. “We have to be in fifth gear from the get go.”
Eighth-grader Emmy Wenger pitched the final 5 1/3 innings with a single walk and five hits allowed with a strikeout.
The Demons have a 7-14 record while EBF is 10-8.
“Wins and losses don’t matter right now,” Obermann said. “We have played 21 games and that is about the point that we started to peak last year.”
The seniors will be counted on to help their teammates climb that peak.
All of them have had some role on varsity since their eighth-grade year, which was Obermann’s first as the head coach.
“This group will always have a special place in my heart,” he said. “Watching them grow on the field and in the classroom, I am really going to miss them. You never forget that first group you have.”
Duwa, who already has an Associate Degree through Kirkwood, didn’t play outfield until Obermann arrived.
“She is one of the best outfielders because she gets a great jump on the ball and has great reads,” Obermann said. “She is a great base runner and does a lot of things for our offense with the way she handles a bat.”
Leyden, who made a spectacular catch over her shoulder running away from the ball for the first out in the fifth inning, is a true athlete who has filled a number of roles until anchoring down the left field the past two seasons.
“I think she has done everything, and more, that we have asked of her,” Obermann said. “She is the ultimate team player.”
With the Mitchell twins, Obermann would take 20 more of them because of how they are,
“Their leadership, their work ethic both in season and out of season, and in the classroom is just what a coach wishes for,” Obermann said.
All four of the seniors are good students and three of them are Academic All-state.
“Alexa has been valuable in the outfield for us and Katelyn is hitting the cover off the ball,” Obermann said. Alexa has tossed over 366 career innings. “She puts the team’s success first.”
Kaitlyn would make a great coach according to Obermann. “She is so valuable behind the plate and so positive.
“They are all going to go on and do bigger and better things. It’s been a fun five years.”
The Mitchells both plan to attend Iowa while Leyden will go to Iowa State and Duwa will attend Alabama.