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Big bats lead Blair Oaks to win against California

WARDSVILLE — It doesn’t matter what names are written on the Blair Oaks’ lineup card.

Starters, bench players or junior-varsity athletes, there is almost an assumption each player will step up and hit. That proved true Tuesday night.

Ten out of the 13 Lady Falcons who had at-bats recorded at least one hit as Blair Oaks romped past California 16-2 in a 41⁄2 inning game at the Falcon Athletic Complex.

“I told them after our game (Monday) night that there may be a different look to the lineup (Tuesday night), but in my mind it didn’t matter what lineup I put out there,” Blair Oaks head coach Sharon Buschjost said. “And I mean ninth through 12th (grade), there’s certain expectations that we have. They know that. It’s a good feeling to know that no matter what the lineup is, with the depth that we have, we can still produce.”

Even with four starters withheld from the starting lineup, Blair Oaks didn’t miss a beat.

Blair Oaks scored three runs in the bottom of the first, highlighted by back-to-back RBI doubles from Blake Burks and Heather Vaught. Lauren Viessman’s sacrifice fly opened the scoring.

The Lady Falcons then tacked on nine more in the second, sending 13 batters to the plate.

Sara Jones started the scoring with a two-run double before Jolie Duffner took advantage of a misplay to circle the bases for a three-run, inside-the-park homer. Burks and Vaught came through again with back-to-back RBI doubles to make it 10-0, an 11th scored on an error and Mackinnley Hamacher added an RBI single.

“You do have to start a season with what you think is your top nine, 10 players,” Buschjost said. “I’ve talked to the girls and they’re going to get the majority of the time. But when opportunity comes, and in this game there was that opportunity, it’s important for (the bench and JV players) to perform, and they did. I’m proud of those girls that had an opportunity, that hadn’t had much this season. They did what they needed to do.”

California got its two runs in the top of the third following Amanda Karbinas’ second hit of the game. She scored on an error before Kaylee Vanloo blooped an RBI single to right field.

“We swung the bat tonight,” California coach Leah Scott said. “We didn’t stand and watch a lot of strikes come through. We’re steadily improving each game.”

Blair Oaks made it 15-2 after three innings, highlighted by Vaught’s RBI single to right and Karlie Reinkemeyer’s run-scoring double to left-center. Another run scored on an error. The Lady Falcons then capped the scoring on an RBI single from Burks in the fourth.

“They definitely have been the toughest team we’ve faced this season,” Scott said of Blair Oaks. “They are very excellent in all skills. They do a great job. I hope to in the next couple years be very competitive with them.”

Blake Burks picked up the win for Blair Oaks, tossing five innings and allowing no earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts and four walks.

Burks and Vaught both had three hits, while Jones, Markway and Nicole Otto each had two.

Blair Oaks (13-3) travels Thursday to take on Fatima, while California will play Saturday in the South Callaway Tournament.

Blair Oaks won the JV game 15-0 to improve to 9-1 on the season.

Megan Mitchem tossed a no-hitter, allowing only a walk while striking out six. She also went 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBI.

Macyn Wilbers went 2-for-3 with three RBI, Natlie Mudd added three RBI and Hamacher contributed a triple and two RBI.

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