By RICK PETERSON
It's no big secret that the bats have been a tad cold for the No. 21-ranked Washburn University softball team, including a 5-0 shutout loss on Saturday.
But the Ichabods took a couple of big steps towards curing those ills on Sunday going 2-0 in the second day of the ESU Classic at Gahnstrom Field with a 6-1 win over Concordia-St. Paul and a 9-0 win over Winona State.
In addition to scoring 15 runs on the day, the 10-3 Ichabods lashed out 18 hits and five extra-base knocks, including first-game home runs from Jaycee Ginter and Jaden LaBarge.
All-American Ginter, a former Shawnee Heights star, threw nine shutout innings to pick up the pitching wins in both games and also got Washburn off to a hot start offensively with a mammoth three-run shot in the bottom of the first inning of the opener.
LaBarge addded her two-run blast in the third and the Ichabods were off and running.
"We haven't been hitting very well so it was very important that we came out today and hit like we did,'' Ginter said. "I feel like everyone was hitting the ball much better than we have been the whole time we've been out this season.''
Washburn coach Brenda Holaday agreed.
"We're very fortunate to have the record that we have because we really haven't hit the ball much this year,'' Holaday said. "We've had some timely hitting but we haven't strung anything together and we've been hard on our kids in practice the last couple of weeks about just doing the little things right so you can move runners along and good things will happen.
"We were ready for that to happen yesterday and it just didn't, but I thought today they played really good softball in both games.''
Ginter put WU in control in the first game with her early homer and she went four innings on the mound without allowing a hit while striking out five. Sheyenne Cheek tossed the final three innings to earn her first save as an Ichabod, striking out two and scattering three hits.
Down 5-0, the Golden Bears (2-6) scored their lone run in the fifth inning to end the shutout, but Washburn came back to score its final run in the bottom of the fifth when Paige Robbins and scored on an Autymn Schreiner groundout.
Santa Fe Trail product Marrit Mead, Hadley Kerschen and Hailey Neira collected two hits each in the opener.
The Ichabods scored two in the first inning of the second game. Silver Lake grad Ellington Hogle and Kerschen drew walks and Ginter was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Hogle scored on a fielder's choice and then Kerschen scored on a wild pitch.
In the second, Washburn scored five runs on four hits to take a 7-0 lead.
Schreiner walked and then Kaylee Wagner singled. After an Ichabod sacrifice bunt by Neira, Hogle walked and then Kerschen singled up the middle scoring Schreiner.
Ginter singled up the middle driving in Kerschen and Hogle. Then Robbins singled up the middle, driving in Kerschen and Ginter as the Ichabods pushed the lead to seven after two innings.
Neither team scored until the fourth when the Ichabods put two more on the scoreboard.
Mead singled and then swiped second. Mead scored on a fielding error by the Warriors (5-1) and after a double to center by Schreiner that scored Robbins, Washburn led 9-0.
Ginter struck out eight, allowing three hits in the five-inning shutout. Robbins finished with two RBI and Hogle and Kerschen both scored twice.
Washburn will be back in action on Monday afternoon at 2:30 p.m., hosting Quincy.
WASHBURN 6, CONCORDIA-ST. PAUL 1
Concordia-St. Paul (2-6) 000 010 0 -- 1 3 0
Washburn (9-3) 302 0`0 x -- 6 11 0
Pilz, McCullough (4) and Sharum. Ginter, Cheek (5) and Wagner. W -- Ginter (7-1). L -- Pitz (0-3). 2B -- Washburn: Robbins, Schreiner. HR -- Washburn: Ginter, LaBarge.
WASHBURN 9, WINONA STATE 0
Winona State (5-1) 000 00 -- 0 3 2
Washburn (10-3) 250 2x -- 9 7 0
Smetana, Calmes (2) and Riemer. Ginter and Wagner. W -- Ginter (8-1). L -- Smetana (0-1). 2B -- Washburn: Schreiner.