Looking to return to Springfield, the Washington softball Lady Jays started their path on the right foot Thursday.
The Lady Jays (19-8) put up runs in every inning of a five-inning 10-0 win against Northwest in the first round of the Class 4 District 4 Tournament at Lakeview Park.
Washington, fourth in last year’s Class 4 State Tournament, travels to Eureka Friday to face the top-seeded host team in the title game. First pitch is set for 4:15 p.m
Taylor Hendrix’s single back up the middle with two outs in the fifth drove in Nichole Brinker to seal the win via the 10-run rule.
Brinker went 3-4 with three runs scored and an RBI in the contest while Hendrix went 2-4 with two RBIs and score one run.
Pitcher Ellie Quaethem helped herself out at the plate, going 3-3 with three RBIs, including a solo home run in the third inning. She also stole a base.
Catcher Payton Dubberke collected a pair of hits as well, going 2-3.
Jessie Huxol, Jena Monehan and Emma Piar-Shaw each got in on the hit parade for Washington with one apiece.
“We were hitting her the whole time,” Head Coach Philip King said. “The first girl (Vanessa Cardenas) was a little slower than what we’re used to. I call it below the hitting speed. You can be above the hitting speed or below it — it still throws off your timing. So, she was still able to keep enough of us off to where we got lucky with a couple of runs here or there, but they switched it up and the next girl (Maddison Welker) was a lot more our hitting speed and we were really hitting her hard.”
Washington compiled four runs, two earned, on five hits against Cardenas through the first two innings and six runs off eight hits against Welker the rest of the way.
Quaethem fired a complete game shutout for Washington, allowing just three hits and striking out four with no walks.
“Our defense looked good right behind her whenever they did make contact,” King said. “Sam Winistoerfer kind of helped set the mode with the leadoff hitter. She made a great catch in foul ground and ran a long distance.”
The 1-2 punch of Quaethem and Hendrix gives the Jays versatility in the circle the rest of the way.
“She’s throwing hard,” King said of Quaethem. “She looks really good. She has been throwing really good for this last... pretty much the whole season, but really has stepped it up in the last half.”