Buschjost picks up softball win No. 300 as Blair Oaks rolls

Blair Oaks head softball coach Sharon Buschjost smiles while being honored for her 300th career victory following the Lady Falcons’ win Tuesday against Russellville at the Falcon Athletic Complex.

Blair Oaks head softball coach Sharon Buschjost smiles while being honored for her 300th career victory following the Lady Falcons’ win Tuesday against Russellville at the Falcon Athletic Complex. Photo by Kris Wilson.

WARDSVILLE, Mo. — Sharon Buschjost already boasted an impressive resume.

In 17-plus seasons as the head softball coach at Blair Oaks, the list is long. Sixteen conference titles. Twelve district championships. Six Final Fours. One state championship.

Now she can add another impressive milestone — 300 career wins — following the Lady Falcons’ 8-2 victory against Russellville on Tuesday evening at the Falcon Athletic Complex.

“Considering it caught me totally off-guard, with little time to reflect, it feels good,” Buschjost said following a brief postgame ceremony that included being awarded the game ball and a small statue commemorating her accomplishment. “There are a lot of coaches with more than 300 wins, but that 300th win in any career is pretty special, and this one is. They recognized it in a very gratifying way.”

Buschjost has been coaching at Blair Oaks since 1996, with her first victory a 7-0 win against Vienna. Now in her 18th season with the Lady Falcons, Buschjost has compiled a 300-118 record, good for a .718 winning percentage.

“I truly haven’t kept track of my wins and losses through the years, so I haven’t had time to reflect to see where it stands,” Buschjost said when asked to rank accomplishment among the many in her illustrious career. “I don’t think anything stands close to a state title. Three hundred wins is more of an individual accomplishment. I guess any win that reflects more of a team accomplishment is much more meaningful to me than an individual accomplishment.

“Very blessed to have talented teams and to be able to share those 300 wins with very talented teams over the years is definitely what made it special.”

It truly was a team effort Tuesday. Seven different players recorded hits, and 10 of the Lady Falcons’ hits were singles. Two pitchers took part in Blair Oaks’ dominating victory.

It didn’t take long for Blair Oaks to jump on top, plating three runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Sara Jones plated a run with a single up the middle before Taylor Markway followed four batters later with a two-run single grounded to center field. Markway’s two RBI came after a two-out error by Russellville that kept the inning alive.

“We unfortunately left a few people on base for them because of our errors,” Russellville coach Trisha Black said. “Blair Oaks makes you pay when you make mistakes.”

After Russellville got one back in the top of the second on a bases-loaded wild pitch, Blair Oaks struck again for two more in the bottom half. Paige Siebeneck, who went 2-for-3 from the No. 8 hole, scored on a passed ball and Jolie Duffner, who also registered a pair of hits, singled in a run later in the frame.

“When you get through that nine spot and you’re still thinking all those players should be hitting further up in the lineup, that’s a good thing,” Buschjost said. “Putting the lineup together has been fun because it is pretty competitive to try to get everybody in the spots that they deserve. ... It means they’re all hitting fairly well.”

The Lady Indians made it 5-2 in the top of the third on an RBI double from Micayla Gilmore, but that’s as close as Russellville would get.

“We left eight girls on base tonight that could have made a big, big difference,” Black said. “Not getting bunts down, just fundamentally we weren’t real sound tonight.”

Markway added a third RBI on a groundout that scored Payton Staggs in the bottom of the third. Blair Oaks capped the scoring in the fourth on a run-scoring single from Ashley Forck and a sacrifice fly from Staggs.

Blake Burks tossed the first two innings and allowed one run on no hits with three walks and two hit batters. Staggs pitched the final five innings, allowing one run on two hits to go along with nine strikeouts, four walks and a hit batter.

“Just some inconsistency in the pitching spot, but yet both Blake and Payton had moments in the game where they had to battle through it and pitch strikes when they had to pitch strikes,” Buschjost said. “I was glad to see Blake battle with the bases loaded there in the second, glad to see her finish that half inning. Then Payton came in and she had a few of the same struggles, but fought through it.”

Miranda Hill took the loss for Russellville, pitching six innings and allowing six earned runs on 12 hits.

“She pitched a very good game,” Black said.

Russellville falls to 3-2 and hosts New Bloomfield on Thursday.

Blair Oaks improves to 2-1 and travels Thursday to Eldon, where Buschjost will look for her 301st victory.

“People are baffled with my lack of memory when it comes to certain events, certain wins, certain losses,” Buschjost said. “I’ve always said I’m the coach that loves the win when it happens, I’ll take the loss and learn from it, but the next day happens, the next day comes and I’m all about that next one. I very seldom revel or dwell on the past.

“I’ve loved every game of it, every year of it and hope to be around a little longer.”

Added Black: “She is a great coach. A lot of us can learn a ton from her. I wish her well and hopefully she gets hundreds more.”

Blair Oaks (2-1) won the JV game 8-0.

Taylor Gehlert was the winning pitcher. Carli Buschjost had two hits and scored two runs, while Lydia Pointer added two RBI.


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