SIGOURNEY — Win or lose, Hannah Lucas was just happy to play the games on Wednesday night.
Even if it meant overcoming a late-inning strikeout, over three hours patrolling a soggy center field and a couple of catches that left Lucas rolling in muddy turf of Glen Schafer Field.
"Diving in it, I got extremely soaked," said Lucas after helping the 15th-ranked (1A) Sigourney softball team secure a doubleheader split with Fairfield, winning 10-4 in game two after losing 4-2 in game one. "I'm very muddy, but we really needed to get some games in."
Lucas scored a run in each game against the Trojans, driving in two runs with a pair of hits in game two including a fifth-inning triple that helped cap a six-run rally for the Savages. In the field, Lucas slipped after making a running catch on a potential run-scoring extra base hit by Shaylin Drish in the sixth and opened the seventh diving head first to rob Coty Engle of a potential lead off single.
All this came less than two hours after swinging and missing at a full-count pitch with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of game one. It was the 15th strikeout for Fairfield ace pitcher Allyson Rebling, preserving her first win in the pitching circle while dealing Sigourney its first loss of 2019.
Even though Lucas didn't come up with the big hit in game one, having the chance to swing the bat in live competition was more important.
"For me, not being able to play those games we've missed due to the weather has served as even more motivation for me," Lucas said. "I always want to make the best game better for myself and my teammates, so not being able to drive in those runs in game one drives me to get those hits and catches that I made in the second game."
Rebling made a three-run rally in the fourth inning by the Trojan offense stick, allowing just two hits over seven innings. The Fairfield junior pitched around a pair of walks in the sixth, striking out Kaylee Weber and Jordan Van Ee to preserve a two-run lead before setting down Lucas after allowing a walk to McKenna Winegarden and hitting Madelynn Hornback with two outs in the seventh.
"Allyson threw well at times, but she had a little trouble with control," Fairfield head softball coach Bob Bradfield said. "I'm not sure if the ball was slick or she was having trouble with her footing on the pitching rubber. It wasn't her best game of the season, but she threw well enough to win."
Fairfield, seeking its first doubleheader sweep of the season and a third straight overall victory in game two, jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Shaylin Drish and Rebling opened the nightcap with back-to-back hits with Rebling driving in Drish on an RBI double before scoring on an RBI hit by Hannah Simpson.
Sigourney, meanwhile, went 0-2 to open the game against Fairfield's game two starting pitcher Coty Engle. Mega Stuhr, however, got the rally going with a two-out single before coming home on a double that rolled and splashed into standing water up against the fence in left-center field.
Fairfield appeared to be on the verge of protecting a one-run lead, forcing Sigourney starting pitcher Hornback into a harmless grounder to short. Instead, a bad throw popped away from Simpson, allowing Van Ee to score the tying run before the opening inning of game two was done.
After stranding a base runner in the top of the second, Fairfield appeared on the way to preserving a 2-2 tie after two innings. Instead, Sigourney (4-1) strung together another two-out rally as Madi Ricard singled, stole two bases and scored the tiebreaking run on an RBI single from Lucas.
Fairfield (2-4) stranded the bases loaded in the third inning of game two and left the tying run at third base in the fifth after Simpson singled in Engle to cut Sigourney's lead to 4-3. The Savages put the game out of reach in the bottom of the frame, scoring six runs including five off Engle, who struggled with her command from the very start of the inning. Fairfield also hurt themselves with three errors in the final three innings.
"We're a young team. Coty's just an eighth grader. We started a pair of eighth-graders (Engle and third baseman Peyton McCabe)," Bradfield said. "We had some mistakes on defense. There were a couple of plays that we just didn't quite make and things went the wrong direction. We're just going to have to work on getting better."
Simpson scored Fairfield's final run after collecting her fourth hit of the nightcap in the seventh. Countering Simpson was Jordan Van Ee, who also went 4-4 batting from the No. 4 position in the Savages line-up.
Fairfield will open Southeast Conference play tonight at Washington, weather permitting. Sigourney returns to South Iowa Cedar League action at home hosting Belle Plaine on Friday night.
"Time to go home, spray off these cleats and take a good shower," Lucas joked. "I've got to get this uniform ready for Friday."