BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MT. PLEASANT – The Fort Madison Lady Hounds got two sparkling pitching efforts from Neeley Rehm and Lauryn Helmick in a sweep of Mt. Pleasant Thursday night in a game that got moved from Fort Madison to Mt. Pleasant due to field conditions.
In the opener Rehm went all seven innings, giving up just four hits of shutout ball in a 7-0 win. Helmick went the distance in the nightcap, giving up five hits and three runs, all in the third inning, as the Hounds invoked the 10-run rule after five innings with a 13-3 nightcap win.
Fort Madison got on the board quickly in the first game when Ivy Geerdes sacrificed Logan Johnson who reached on an error to open the inning. Dalyn Wondra would ground out to third to end the inning.
Rehm would get the Panthers 1-2-3 in the second. Then with two outs in the bottom of the second, Helmick would single and Emily Steffensmeier would reach on a bobbled grounder at third. Johnson would get hit by a pitch and Kylee Cashman would suffer the same fate, but get an RBI for wearing it as Helmick would be pushed across home.
Then Lexi Whaley ripped a line drive right over the head of pitcher Sydni Coleman who stabbed the drive right out of her follow through to save the inning with the bases loaded.
Rehm would again get the Panthers to go in order. On the second pitch of the inning, Emma Starr hit a grounder that got past McKenna Cashman at first, but Geerdes backing up the play was able to scoop it up and flip it back to Cashman in time for the out.
“I thought the fielding was really good tonight,” Rehm said after the game. “We only had one error and that one ended up in an out at third.”
She said that kind of defense helps her pitching duties.
“I feel like I had more confidence in this game and more confidence this year. I know I didn’t do well last year and I wanted to make a change.”
In the bottom of the third, Fort Madison would put up two more runs on a Rehm single to left that drove in Geerdes and Wondra before Coleman could rein in the inning.
Rehm would give one of her three hits in the fourth, a two-out double to Samantha Broeker, but a fly out to center in the next at bat left the Panthers down 4-0. Both teams would go scoreless in the fifth and Rehm would work a three-up, three-down top of the sixth.
The Lady Hounds would get some insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth with Johnson and Cashman both reaching on singles. Whaley would then deposit the first offering from Coleman in the trees in left field for a three-run home run, her sixth on the year, for a 7-0 lead that would hold up.
Rehm would give up a single to start the seventh, but then settled in to get the next three hitters and the win.
Jared Rehm said he was pleased with the defensive effort of the Hounds.
“We kinda gave up a bunch of errors in the first game at Fairfield and that put us behind. Then it boiled over in to the second game. So I’m happy with the way we played defensively,” he said.
Rehm moved to 5-3 on the year with the win.
“Obviously having that kind of defense at her back helps her a ton, because the more we give up, the more she has to throw,” he said.
Rehm, Cashman, and Whaley all had multiple hits in the opener. Johnson, Helmick, Maycee Featheringill, Geerdes, and Wondra each had a hit as well. Whaley led the Hounds with 3 RBI.
In the opener, Helmick breezed through the first two innings, but found a little trouble in the third with Fort Madison up 4-0. Two singles sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt put runners at 1st and 3rd with one out. Broeker would then double to left scoring two and Savana Walls would follow with a single back at Wondra to score another run to cut the lead to 4-3. Helmick would work a fly ball out and strike out to end the threat.
The Lady Hounds would respond with seven runs in the bottom half sparked by Johnson’s 2-run homer to left. Helmick would hit a two-out double on a 2-0 pitch into center to score Whaley and Geerdes for an 11-3 lead.
Helmick would work a perfect fourth and fifth inning to get the win. Kendall Beebe would wrap things up in the bottom when the Hounds hit the 10-run rule on a Panther error that allowed Featheringill to come in with the winning run.
Johnson, Helmick, Wondra, and Whaley each had two hits in the second game. Allyson Helmick, Geerdes, Featheringill, Beebe, and Cashman all had hits.
The Lady Hounds improve to 8-5 overall and 6-2 in loop play. They take on Burlington in a double header Monday to wrap up conference action.