BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A seven-run third inning proved to be too much for the Fort Madison girls as Class 3A No. 13 West Burlington rolled to a 13-8 win at Bill Hoskins Field.
The Lady Hounds (9-7) trailed 9-0 after two and half, but outscored the Falcons 6-4 over the last four innings in the loss.
With West Burlington holding a 2-0 lead going into the top of third, Reagan Engberg looped a pop-up just over the head of Fort Madison’ Kylee Cashman running left into shallow center to start the inning. Addyson Kellen would move Engberg up on a sacrifice ground out and Lauren Summers would walk to put runners at the corners.
Madelyn Stuntsman would reach on a hard shot to Logan Johnson at third that scored Engberg for a 3-0 lead. Eighth-grader Logan Kelly then slapped a triple past a diving Emily Steffensmeier in center to clear the bases for a 5-0 lead with just one out.
Lauren Krieger kept things going with a single to center scoring another run, and Elise Oleson would keep Steffensmeier busy in center with a double to the gap. Abby Bence singled over the head of Dalyn Wondra in right for an RBI. Oleson would come in to score on a wild pitch before Rehm got Engberg swinging to end the inning up 9-0.
The Lady Hounds would get two back in the bottom half. Four of the first five Hounds to the plate walked scoring a run with one out. After a strikeout, Allyson Helmick singled to right scoring Logan Johnson, but Aija Jenkins, would be called out at home trying to score on the play to end the inning trailing 9-2.
West Burlington would add just one in the fourth on an RBI single, but Fort Madison would respond with two in the bottom half.
The Hounds were setting up for a big inning, with two on and no outs but Elle Ruble got caught diving back to third on a quick throw from Falcon catcher Logan Kelley. Emily Steffensmeier would go down on strikes for the second out two pitches later. Logan Johnson would walk and with Lauren Helmick standing at second after a double to center field, Cashman would double past the left fielder to score both Helmick and Johnson for a 10-4 game.
Cashman would move to third on a wild pitch and then score on Lexi Whaley’s RBI single to center before West Burlington would get a ground out to end things in the fourth.
West Burlington would come back with two more in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded and no outs, Cashman went home on fielders choice grounder, but the throw got away from Whaley allowing two runs to score. Kellen would pop out in foul territory for the first out and then Summers would line into a double play at short that caught Engberg off second.
A Rehm double with no outs scored two in the bottom half. Ruble would courtesy run for Rehm and come in to score on a Johnson one-out sacrifice fly for a 12- 8 game. Cashman would get way out in front of Summers off-speed offering and pop out in the circle for the third out.
Fort Madison Head Coach Jared Rehm brought in Lauryn Helmick to throw to start the sixth.
“We’ve got two more games tomorrow and they’ll both throw a game. She was at 70 some pitches and I wanted to get Lauryn some work so we just made the switch,” Rehm said.
Helmick gave up a double to start the inning and a wild pitch moved the runner to third. A sacrifice fly scored a run for 13-8 lead and round out the scoring.
Rehm said the Hounds, who travel to Central Lee Friday and then to Class 5A No. 8 Muscatine (12-2) on Tuesday, are primed for districts when they host Keokuk on Thursday. A win there would put them up against No. 6 Fairfield (18-1) in Fairfield Saturday. Both district games are 7 p.m. starts.
“The pitching tonight is like what we’ll see in Keokuk and in Fairfield. Their second pitchers is what we’ll see in Keokuk and the first is more in line with (Allison) Rebling in Fairfield.”
Rehm led the Hounds at the plate going 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBI. Whaley was also 2 of 3 with an RBI. Cashman had a couple RBI off her double, Allyson Helmick, Lauryn Helmick and Wondra all had hits for the Lady Hounds.
Rehm went five innings giving up 12 runs, 10 earned on 12 hits and two walks in the loss. Helmick went two innings and gave up one earned run on two hits while striking out one.