BY ETHAN LILLARD
BURLINGTON – Energy.
By the time the dust settle on Wagner Field at Burlington High School, energy was the one word both teams used to describe the outcome of Fort Madison softball’s 11-1 loss to the Greyhounds after six innings in the Iowa Class 4A Region 6 post-season bracket.
“Our attitudes were different coming into the game,” Fort Madison senior Cassie Powers said was the difference between Thursday’s nights contest and the first time the two teams played June 4th.
“We were down … I felt like we weren’t up and ready.”
Burlington’s Powers, Makaylin Powers, brought the energy to the field for the Greyhounds, leading off the game with a home run over the left field fence the very first at bat in the bottom of the first.
“Definitely the energy level,” Makaylin Powers said was the difference for Burlington Thursday. “We beat Fort Madison all these years and took them lightly. This time we knew what we were getting into and we put the pedal to the metal right away.”
The out-of-the-park homer was followed by back-to-back bunt singles, leading to Burlington building a 2-0 lead through the first inning.
After going three-up, three-down in the top of the first, the Bloodhounds got their first baserunners thanks to a Jasmine Bass bunt single and an Ivy Geerdes walk. The momentum was short lived, as out three followed on a groundout.
Carlet McGinity led off the home-half of the second with a single. Cassie Powers collected back-to-back strikeouts on the eight and nine hitters, but Makaylin Powers hit an RBI double, before Bryanna MeHaffy came through with an RBI single to extend the lead to 4-0.
Fort Madison got its first run of the game in the top of the third inning. Vanessa Golowach led off with a single and came around to score two batters later thanks to an error by the Burlington shortstop.
The run would be the only one of the game for the Bloodhounds.
Alivia Fawcett launched a home run over the left field fence to begin the bottom of the third for the 5-1 advantage, sparking the Greyhounds offense at the plate once again.
Despite Powers starting off with a strikeout in the bottom of the fourth, a triple from MeHaffy brought in Powers to make it 6-1, before a sacrifice fly from Lydia Allen-Barnes extended the lead to 7-1.
Nevaeh Ertz started the home-half of the fifth inning with a double, before Adessa Brandenburg reached base safely on a sacrifice bunt thanks to a Hound error. A single the following at bat brought in a run for the 8-1 lead, before another sac bunt put runners on second and third with one out.
Katie Baltisberger came in to pinch hit at the No. 9 spot and came through with a bases clearing double that left the Greyhounds one run away from putting the game away by the ten-run rule. Powers walked the ensuing at bat and MeHaffy reached safely on yet another sacrifice bunt to load the bases. A wild pitch the following at bat allowed Baltisberger to score, advancing Burlington in the post season bracket with the 11-1 win.
“They did well,” Fort Madison Head Coach Jared Rehm said about his team’s season. “There’s just some things we need to work on.”
Posting the highest win total for the program since the 2012-2013 season, this season’s Bloodhounds may have made an early exit in the post season, but they made a lasting impact on their program.
“I think it was a pretty good year,” Fort Madison senior Olivia Williams said. “Probably one of the best I’ve had as far as winning and losing goes. I had a lot of fun this year with my teammates.”
Fort Madison finished the season with a 14-18 record.