BY ETHAN LILLARD
WEST BURLINGTON – Fort Madison’s staved off a seventh inning rally to get their first win of the season on the road at West Burlington, 7-6.
West Burlington recorded three runs in the bottom of the first inning, putting pressure on Fort Madison. The Bloodhounds responded in the top of the second. Dalyn Wondra started the inning with a walk, before back-to-back outs put the inning in doubt.
Jassmine Bass rebounded for Fort Madison with a walk, before Kylee Cashman logged a single. Olivia Williams followed with a ground ball and reached base safely on an error. The error allowed Wondra and Bass to come in and score for the Hounds, closing the gap to 3-2.
Both teams went scoreless for a couple of innings, before a big fifth inning put the Bloodhounds in control. Williams hit a ground ball and once again reached base safely thanks to a Falcon error. Williams stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch during Logan Johnson’s at bat, as Johnson ended the at bat with a walk, putting runners on the corners.
Cassie Powers came to the plate next. Williams was able to score on a ball that got by the catcher during Powers’ at bat, while Johnson moved over to third on the same pitch. Powers then delivered with a single, scoring Johnson for a 4-3 lead.
Maycee Featheringill followed with a single of her own, advancing Katelyn Dennis (who came in to pinch run for Powers) to second. Wondra laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Dennis to third and Featheringill to second.
With just one out, Vanessa Golowach grounded into a fielder’s choice, as Featheringill was tagged out at third, but Dennis came across to score, making it a 5-3 Fort Madison lead. Ivy Geerdes and Bass recorded back to back walks to load the bases, but a strikeout put an end to the threat, as the Hounds left the bases stranded loaded.
Leaving the bases loaded didn’t hurt the Hounds in the bottom of the fifth, as they recorded a three up three down bottom of the fifth. Williams grounded out to start the sixth before Johnson got on base with a walk. Johnson then stole second during Powers at bat and later moved to third after Powers grounded out to the short stop.
Featheringill delivered for Fort Madison with the runner in scoring position, singling on a fly ball to center field to bring in Johnson for a 6-3 lead.
The Bloodhounds added to their lead in the top of the seventh inning. Golowach walked to start the inning, before Geerdes singled to move Golowach over to third with no outs. Bass struck out for the first out the next at bat, but Neeley Rehm (who came into run for Geerdes) was able to steal second base during the same at bat.
Kylee Cashman grounded into a double play following the strikeout, but not before Golowach crossed the plate to put the Bloodhounds in the driver’s seat with a 7-3 lead.
Despite being down four runs with just one inning left to play, West Burlington was far from done. The Falcons started the home half of the seventh off with back-to-back singles before the Hounds recorded the first out of the inning on a pop out. With two runners on base, the Falcons delivered with a home run over the left field fence to bring them back within one run of the lead.
Fort Madison was able to put an end to the threat, collecting another pop out followed by a groundout to end the game for the first win of the season.
Powers, Featheringill and Golowach each had an RBI for Fort Madison. Johnson led the way with two runs scored. Powers pitched all seven innings on 99 pitches, striking out five batters, allowing seven hits and giving up five earned runs.
Fort Madison’s next game is scheduled for Friday against Washington at home.