After losing to Eisenhower and Derby by a combined score of 34-13 earlier in the week, the Red Demons softball team opened up conference play strong, sweeping the Hays Indians by scores of 12-4 and 6-5 Thursday night.
In the first game, seniors Jessica Olivarez and Grace Ruehle led the way for the Red Demons. Olivarez had one hit on one plate-appearance, also batting in a run.
Ruehle had an ever stronger game, reaching base all four times she came up. She was walked twice but hit home runs in her other two appearances, ending the first game with four RBIs while scoring three times herself. She now has three this season.
Sophomore Zabree Rodriguez had three RBIs with one hit and a run. Ruehle, sophomore Elise Helfrich and junior Madison Armstrong all had two hits. Armstrong had two RBIs.
For Hays, junior Kaitlyn Brown had a team-high two hits and two runs. Sophomore Madelyn Waddell, junior Mackenzie Fagan and junior Jaysa Wichers all had one RBI for the Indians. Waddell, Brown and sophomore Reanna Harman were the three players who scored the four runs for the Indians.
The Red Demons allowed three runs in the first inning, only recovering two in the bottom half of it, and trailed until the bottom of the third, when they scored one run to tie the game.
They tacked another run on in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead, but allowed one in the top of the fifth to make the score 4-4.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, they blew the game open, scoring five to take a 9-4 lead. They held Hays scoreless in the sixth, but scored three more to take the final lead of 12-4.
Red Demon freshman Raemie Lopp finished the first game with seven innings pitched, six hits allowed, four runs allowed (two of them earned) and six strikeouts. She was the winning pitcher.
Brown was the losing pitcher for Hays, having thrown four and two-thirds of an inning and having allowed seven hits, nine runs (seven of them earned), three walks and five strikeouts.
In the second game the Red Demons prevailed, but the Indians kept it closer.
After allowing two runs in the first, the Red Demons scored three in their half of the opening inning. Hays fought back though, scoring one in the third, and two in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead.
The Indians held that lead until the Red Demons scored three in the bottom of the seventh to steal the win.
The Red Demons managed just six hits in the second game, while the Indians recorded nine.
Sophomore Elise Helfrich and freshman Raemie Lopp each had a team-high two hits. Junior Madeline Kalscheur had a team-high two RBIs. Helfrich had an RBI, as did Ruehle.
The Red Demons are next in action April 12, when they host the Wichita Heights Falcons in a doubleheader. The first game is scheduled for 4 p.m.