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Fatima downs Blair Oaks for seventh place

At Capital City Invitational

It was a merry-go-round on the basepaths for Fatima.

Fifteen hits, nine defensive errors, three hit batters and three walks all worked to the Comets’ advantage, as Fatima cruised to a 17-9 win against Blair Oaks in the seventh-place game of the Capital City Invitational on Saturday morning at Legion Field.

“We came out and hit the ball well and put some runs up,” Fatima coach Scott Kilgore said. “We kept pressuring. We scored every inning but the second. That’s a positive note you can build on.”

The mood wasn’t so positive on the other side.

“Maybe the ugliest high school baseball game in the history of the sport,” Blair Oaks coach Harv Antle said of a game that featured 13 errors and 11 unearned runs. “That would be my first impression.

“It’s the same song, just a different verse. We’re not executing on defense. We’re giving up too many free passes, we’re giving up too many free bases, we’re making mistakes, we’re not getting outs when they present themselves. That’s what’s hurting us.”

Every starter in Fatima’s lineup recorded at least one hit and scored at least one run. The Comets started things off with three runs in the top of the first. Nolan Bax picked up an RBI single, another scored on a wild pitch and another on a sacrifice fly.

“We jumped on them, got them down, and that makes it tough to come back from that,” Kilgore said.

Blair Oaks tied the game at 3 in the bottom of the second on an RBI double from Beau Distler and a two-run single from Logan Bax.

It didn’t take long for Fatima to respond, as the Comets took the lead for good with three runs in the top of the third. A two-run double from John Fick highlighted the inning.

“When they’d score, we’d answer,” Kilgore said. “That’s important to see that, to never lay down, to keep fighting.”

The Comets added two more in the fourth and five more in the fifth to go up 13-3. Reid Kesel smacked a two-run double in the fifth and Fick followed with an RBI single.

Blair Oaks wasn’t about to lay down, though, putting up a 5-spot in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to 13-8. Brent Heckemeyer had the inning’s biggest hit, a three-run triple.

“We do a good job to battle back, and we show some competitiveness to stay in the ball game,” Antle said. “They had a chance to run-rule us and we got up off the deck in the fifth inning and extended the game for the full seven, and that’s a good thing. There were chances to score more and we didn’t capitalize in some of those situations.”

Fatima kept up its torrid hitting, plating two runs in the sixth to make it 15-8. Nolan Bax picked up an RBI single in the frame. Blair Oaks made it 15-9 by scoring a run on a couple errors in the bottom half of the inning.

Fatima put on the finishing touches with two more runs in the seventh, one on a sacrifice fly and another on an RBI single from Brady Weber.

Bax picked up the win for Fatima, while Daniel Castillo was saddled with the loss for Blair Oaks.

Ryan Mebruer and Bax both had three hits for Fatima, while Fick and Weber added two apiece. Distler paced Blair Oaks with two hits.

Fatima (5-3) travels Tuesday to Eugene.

“I’m proud of them,” Kilgore said. “That was our sixth game this week, so we’re drained. Our arms are hurting, our starting catcher had to pitch today. We’re just struggling for players, we’re just beat up.

“We’ve got a lot of baseball left this spring. We’ve got four games next week. We’re praying for a little bit of rain.”

Blair Oaks (2-3) hosts Fulton on Monday. It was a rough weekend for the defending champion Falcons, who conceded 45 runs over the course of three games.

“We’re at a point where we’re kind of scratching our heads a little bit,” Antle said. “But it’s early. In time, we’ll get those kinks ironed out, we’ll relax and be able to play the game at a better level. There’s no doubt in my mind.

“The kids are a little discouraged, but hopefully they understand you don’t win district titles and get into the state playoffs in April. If we learn from our mistakes and get better because of it, we’ll be fine.”

Blair Oaks and Fatima will meet again Thursday in Westphalia.

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