Washington falls to Solon in district title game
The Demons had been knocked down, but weren’t ready to quit on Monday night.
Washington baseball had fallen behind 7-2 to Solon in the district finals held at Solon High School, but the Demons had a comeback left in them.
In the top of the fifth, Mason Quigley drew a lead-off walk, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Jacob Green singled him home.
Then Walker Breard sent a shot over the center field fence to bring the Demons within two runs.
Fast forwarding to the seventh, the Demons were down to their final out, but an error and two walks loaded the bases, but Solon pitcher Nathan Hawkins closed out the game with a strikeout, ending the game 7-5.
The loss ended Washington’s season. The Demons finished with a 17-15 record, just two wins away from the state tournament.
“We got behind the eight ball a little bit with six errors,” Washington head coach Nathan Miller said. “If you look at the scoreboard and it’s 7-5, you wonder where things could have been different. You can’t say enough about our kids’ relentlessness.
“There are a lot of teams that would think the game was done, but our kids still believed they could win the game. I told the kids they can’t walk off the field hanging their heads because they put it out there.”
Right off the bat, it looked as if Washington was channeling the momentum from its win against Benton on Friday, as Breard started the game in the same fashion, with a one-out two-run homerun.
Solon answered quickly in the bottom of the first, as they picked up three hits to tie the game back up at 2.
After the first two batters reached base in the bottom of the second the Demons made a quick pitching change as Miller brought in Elijah Wood, who pitched the entire game on Friday.
He struck out three in the frame, but gave up a single, which made it 3-2.
“[Elijah] had about three innings in him and you could see at the end of the fifth that he was reeling,” Miller said. “Our hope was that [starting pitcher Zach Londberg] could extend the game to about the third or fourth and then have Elijah finish. It was a tough outing for Zach, and it’s a tribute to him as a freshman that he battled. I’m very happy with the way our pitching performed tonight.”
The Demons gave up a run in the fourth on a squeeze bunt, then a two-RBI double by Hawkins helped Solon to a 7-2 lead in the fourth.
During the top of the fifth, Washington began its comeback effort that ultimately came short.
“We continued to put quality at-bats together,” Miller said. “He’s a good pitcher and there is a reason they are moving on. We just needed to be a little more patient at the plate and not chase. He made good pitches and in the fifth inning he made a few mistakes and we took advantage of that.”
The season marked the end for five Washington seniors, including Breard, who had an impressive finale, going 2-3 with two homeruns and four RBIs.
“The thing [Walker] brings the most that the kids can see is his work ethic,” Miller said. “It’s unmatched. There is nobody who is in that hitting facility more often than him. The other thing is his nature. It doesn’t matter if it’s a freshman a sophomore, junior or senior, he talks to them all. Like tonight when we were getting equipment loaded, guess who’s helping out: Walker Breard and Mason Quigley. Those two guys have always done as much as any of the younger guys, and that’s what I hope the young guys see from him is that this is what it takes to get to be that type of a player.”
The Washington seniors (Green, Breard, Quigley, Wood and Tanner Knupp) batted a combined .315 for the Demons this season, with a combined 94 RBIs, leaving a hole going into next year.
The Demons will look to fill those holes with a talented junior varsity team who went 10-2 in its final 12 games of the season.
“We have some great young kids who will be in the mix right away,” Miller said. “It will be a different start because we’ll have two seniors, three juniors and a slug of sophomores, so it will be a new and exciting feel because these kids are hungry.”
Class 3A District Finals
Algona 8, Gilbert 7
Assumption, Davenport 5, Central Clinton, DeWitt 4
Bishop Heelan Catholic, Sioux City 11, MOC-Floyd Valley 7
Centerville 11, Keokuk 1 (5 innings)
Clear Creek-Amana 3, Vinton-Shellsburg 2
Dallas Center-Grimes 6, Bondurant-Farrar 5
Glenwood 14, Creston 4 (5 innings)
Harlan 7, Carroll 5
Humboldt 4, Clear Lake 3
Marion 2, Epworth, Western Dubuque 0
Pella 8, Saydel 3
Sergeant Bluff-Luton 4, LeMars 0
Waverly-Shell Rock 10, Decorah 9
West Delaware, Manchester 9, Crestwood, Cresco 3
Class 4A District Finals
Burlington 5, Cedar Rapids, Jefferson 1
Clinton 9, North Scott, Eldridge 8
Davenport, West 11, Bettendorf 7
Fort Dodge 11, Ames 7
Johnston 8, Ankeny Centennial 5
Marshalltown 7, Cedar Falls 2
Norwalk 3, Council Bluffs, Thomas Jefferson 0
Valley, West Des Moines 8, Des Moines, Hoover 2