BY ETHAN LILLARD
FORT MADISON – Burlington may have recorded the first run of Tuesday’s nights softball contest between Fort Madison and the Grayhounds, but it was the Bloodhounds who would get the runs when it mattered most.
After Burlington put the first run of the game on the board in the top of the second inning, Fort Madison responded with a run in the home half of the frame to tie the game at one. One more run in the third and another in the fifth gave Fort Madison its second win of the season 3-1 over Burlington.
The second game was a completely different story for both squads, as Burlington went on to blank the Hounds for the 12-0 shutout win, splitting the double header 1-1.
“After yesterday’s game we had a talk and I said, ‘Don’t try to be perfect, you’re never going to be perfect. You’re going to be on a constant roller coaster ride, like a yo-yo. If you’re not perfect, you’re going to be in the dumps,’” Fort Madison Head Coach Jared Rehm explained to his team. “’Live in the process and love the game.’”
The Fort Madison faithful loved the play of starting pitcher Cassie Powers in game one.
Coming into Tuesday’s contest at Hoskins Field, Powers led Fort Madison with 33 total innings pitched on the year and was sporting an earned run average of 3.60.
That average came down after game one.
Through two innings, Powers held Burlington to just two hits, but the Grayhounds were able to capitalize on a Bloodhound error for the first run of the game.
Fort Madison answered by tying the game in the home half of the second. Ivy Geerdes started things off with a walk and Dalyn Wondra followed with a single to put two on. Vanessa Golowach walked the next at bat to load the bases for the Hounds with just one out.
Following a strikeout, Olivia Williams stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and delivered with an RBI single to tie the game at one.
Again with two outs, Fort Madison kept the inning alive and increased the lead in the bottom of the third. Maycee Featheringill was issued a walk before Geerdes came through with a single. The following at bat Featheringill came in to score from second after an error from the Burlington right fielder, giving Fort Madison the 2-1 edge.
Powers was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning before another Grayhound error helped deliver another Bloodhound run. Neely Rehm came in to courtesy run for Powers and was moved over to third on an error by the Burlington shortstop during Featheringill’s at bat. The move to third helped Rehm score on a past ball, as Fort Madison got some cushion with a 3-1 lead.
Powers handled the rest, facing just eight batters combined over the next two innings, giving the Bloodhounds the 3-1 win over Burlington.
“She pitched a really good game,” Rehm said of Powers. “She kept them off balance and forced a lot of pop ups in the infield. The defense played well and she dealt.”
Williams logged the lone RBI for Fort Madison, while also pacing the team at the dish with a 2 for 4 day. Powers collected the win, throwing 114 pitches over seven innings, giving up seven hits and no earned runs.
Burlington flipped a switch in game two, only allowing the contest to go three innings.
The Grayhounds scored just one run in the first inning, but two singles, a sacrifice bunt and a home run gave Burlington the 4-0 edge through two innings.
As if the three-run second wasn’t bad enough, Burlington piled on with an eight-run top of the third inning. The inning started with a walk and a single before a fielder’s choice put runners at second and third for Burlington with just one out. A dropped third strike the next at bat scored the first of eight runs, before another fielder’s choice made it 6-0.
A single followed by back-to-back home runs put Burlington in firm control of the game with an 11-0 lead. The next batter was hit by a pitch, before another single helped a run come across on a fielder’s choice the next at bat for the final run of the game.
The Grayhounds went on to win by the final of 12-0 through three innings.
Featheringill had the lone hit during the second game for Fort Madison. Rehm was hit with the loss after pitching 2 1/3 innings, allowing 10 earned runs on nine hits. The Bloodhounds move to 2-6 on the season and will next take on Wapello back at home tomorrow.