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Blair Oaks pummels Helias 10-0 in softball

Sharon Buschjost has touted the depth of Blair Oaks’ lineup several times. Certainly warranted in the past, it jumped to new levels Tuesday night.

Ten players joined in a 14-hit parade as the Lady Falcons eased past the Helias Lady Crusaders 10-0 in five innings at Duensing Field.

“No wonder I felt tough coaching decisions,” the Blair Oaks head coach said of the number of girls with at least a hit. “It was a game I certainly wanted to get other players involved, whether it be an at-bat or defense, but you also as a coach couldn’t find that weak link.

“It’s not like any one player was struggling and you thought, ‘I’ll let her rest and let someone else get an at-bat.’ It was a matter of just picking in the order a couple places to try to get some at-bats for other players. It was a tough decision with the way we were swinging the bat, as to who to pull out.”

Not a bad problem to have. The outlook wasn’t as bright on the other side.

“Got absolutely dominated,” Helias head coach Dan Campbell said. “That’s all I can say. All phases of the game.”

Not only did Blair Oaks enjoy itself at the plate, it was a similar story in the pitcher’s circle. Sophomore Payton Staggs tossed a one-hitter, struck out eight and didn’t allow a runner past second base. The one hit came off the bat of Kaysie Scheuler with one out in the bottom of the fourth, a little dribbler down the third-base line.

“A little bit wild but at the same time effective,” Buschjost said, alluding to the fact Staggs walked seven batters. “Whenever that strike was needed, she had it. I don’t think anyone got to third base. They got as far as second and then she seemed to come through with the strikes when she needed it.”

Added Campbell: “We had seven walks and we can’t push a run across. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that in softball. We just didn’t hit. When (Staggs) was in the strike zone she was pretty dominant. But seven walks, you’ve got to get some runs.”

The fun started for Blair Oaks with three runs in the top of the second inning. An error to start the inning proved ominous for Helias. Blake Burks opened the scoring with a one-out RBI single and LeeAnn Polowy added a two-run double with two outs after the inning should have ended.

“We gave them an extra out,” Campbell said. “We should have made a play that we didn’t make. You can’t do that. We’ve been preaching ever since the start of the season, the ball is going to be hit, we have to make plays. Right now we’re not making any.”

Polowy’s double remarkably happened to be the Lady Falcons’ only extra-base hit of the contest. The other 13 all were of the one-base variety.

That included five straight to open the third frame, which were part of an inning that saw Blair Oaks send 12 batters to the plate, record eight hits and score seven runs.

“I felt like we had pressure on them just about every inning,” Buschjost said. “We put a string of hits together in the third inning. It was mixed in with maybe a misplayed ball, but I thought as a team we did what we were capable of and did what we should have.”

Staggs made it 4-0 with an RBI single, Burks followed with a two-run hit and Paige Siebeneck brought in a run with a grounder, ending the streak of base hits. Karlie Reinkemeyer’s single made it 8-0, another run scored on an error and Ashley Forck capped the scoring with a RBI single to center field.

“They’re a super team,” Campbell said of Blair Oaks. “They’re going to be tough. Well-coached. They’ve got everything: hitting, pitching.”

Polowy, Sara Jones, Forck and Burks all had two hits for Blair Oaks. Lindsey Steinbeck was the losing pitcher for Helias.

Helias (1-4) hosts Jefferson City today with the JV game starting at 4:30 p.m.

“Things aren’t going well right now, but we’re not going to quit,” Campbell said. “We’ve got another big game (today) against J.C. We’re going to come back and try to get us a victory. That’s what we need right now.”

Blair Oaks (3-1) plays Battle at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Duensing Field as part of the Capital City Invitational.

“I was glad we had the opportunity to get some of those substitutions in, but at the same time I hated to pull the starters who were swinging hot bats,” Buschjost said. “We have the Jefferson City tournament coming up.”

Blair Oaks won the JV game 9-1.

Macyn Wilbers and Taylor Gehlert both collected three hits for the Lady Falcons (6-1), while Lydia Pointer and Baylie Bellin added two. Lindsey Kolb was the winning pitcher.

Helias (3-2) managed just two hits, and Kendalyn Hall was the losing pitcher.

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