Softball: Marion Sweeps Doubleheader From Indee

By Jeff Linder (Story) and Scott Saville (Video), Reporters

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By Grant Burkhardt

MARION, Iowa - It was the bloopiest of bloop singles.

"I hit it and I thought, 'Oh crap, it's just another pop-up,' " said Marion leadoff hitter Lauren Rausch. "Then it started to look like it might hit a hole."

Rausch's bloop landed in no-man's land in the dirt behind second base, plating Haley Dullea for the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, and the Indians completed a 5-4, 2-1 Wamac Conference West Division softball sweep of Independence on Monday at the Les Hipple Athletic Complex.

It was probably the least well-hit of Rausch's five hits Monday. But it was the most important.

Marion (9-13 overall, 5-5 Wamac West) swept Independence for the first time in Kim Knapp's six-year tenure as head coach.

"We're getting better," Knapp said. "I really think that on any given night, we can beat anybody."

The Indians took the first game despite surrendering 10 hits and committing six errors. They took a 5-2 lead into the seventh inning, then held on for dear life. Indee (9-12, 2-6) had the tying run at third base before Marion got the final out.

Relief pitchers got the wins for Marion in both games. Bre Smith pitched the last four innings in the opener, then freshman Ashley Lappe relieved Smith in the nightcap.

Lappe retired each of the 12 batters she faced, fanning six.

"She's a tough little nut," Knapp said. "She's a kid, mentally, that I know I can put into any situation. Nothing seems to bother her. She makes a great closer."

Lappe kept the batters off balance, inducing five fly outs and a groundout to accompany the six K's.

"This was one of the better games I've pitched," she said.

Catcher Paige Perkins called the game. Lappe said she never shakes Perkins off.

"No way," she said. "I trust her."

Dullea scored both of Marion's runs in Game 2. She tallied on a wild pitch in the third inning to tie the game. Then, with two outs and nobody on in the sixth, she singled to center field and advanced to second on an error. She was off with contact on Rausch's bloop, and scored from second easily.

Rausch was 5-for-7 Monday and scored twice in the first game.

Marion took the lead in Game 1 for good in the third inning, scoring three times for a 4-2 advantage. Michalyn Mohr had the big blast, a two-run single.

Kelsey Ratchford had a big night in defeat for the Mustangs, collecting singles in her first five plate appearances. She finished 5-of-6 with a sacrifice bunt.

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