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story.lead_photo.caption Helias second baseman Payton Dudenhoeffer takes the throw from catcher Paige Schaffer as Ellie Kliethermes of Blair Oaks attempts to steal second base during the fifth inning of Tuesday's game at the American Legion Post 5 Sports Complex. Photo by Greg Jackson / News Tribune.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, it was a one-run game.

That's what you come to expect when the Helias Lady Crusaders take on the Blair Oaks Lady Falcons in softball.

The Lady Crusaders scored two runs with two outs in the bottom of the second inning Tuesday, then held on for a 2-1 victory against the Lady Falcons at the American Legion Post 5 Sports Complex.

"These games are always good tests," Helias coach Chris Wyrick said. "When you play Blair Oaks, you know you are going to have to play well to get the win and they will expose what you need to work on."

For the Lady Falcons, it was a night of missed opportunities.

"I don't think we battled at the plate the way we have been pitch-to-pitch," Blair Oaks coach Sharon Buschjost said.

The Lady Falcons threatened in the top of the first inning, alternating strikeouts and walks to put runners at first and second with two outs. But Helias starter Alexa Rehmeier got her third strikeout of the inning to end the threat.

Kendyll Rackers led off the Helias second inning with a four-pitch walk before Ella Meyer doubled to put runners at second and third.

Blair Oaks starter Alexis Findley then got a short fly out to right and a strikeout before No. 9 hitter Ava Morris singled to left on a 1-2 pitch to score Rackers for the first run of the game.

"That was a big at-bat for Ava, that was huge," Wyrick said. "She's not your typical No. 9 hitter, she's hit the ball hard a lot this year.

"That was big for a freshman to do that against a high-quality pitcher."

Liv Bloomer then beat out an infield single as Meyer scored to make it 2-0.

"It was good for us not to give up on the inning," Wyrick said. "Earlier in the year, we probably wouldn't have scored."

Scoring with two outs is big in any game.

"Two-out hits are huge for one team and deflating for the other," Buschjost said.

Blair Oaks got one of those runs back in the top of the third. Bailey Rissmiller drew a two-out walk and stole second before Findley doubled down the line in left for an RBI.

Neither team was able push across a run the remainder of the contest.

After Bloomer's hit, Findley retired nine of the next 10 Helias hitters before Mallorey Rogers doubled with two outs in the fifth.

"She did a good job of keeping us off-balance, not giving into what we wanted to hit, but throwing what she wanted to throw," Wyrick said.

Rehmeier got a little help from her defense to get out of the fifth and sixth innings.

Helias catcher Paige Schaffer threw out a potential base stealer at second to end the fifth. In the sixth, a high pop out on the edge of the infield nicked off the glove of Morris for an error. Pinch runner Emma Wolken tried to score from first on the play, but second baseman Payton Dudenhoeffer alertly picked up the loose ball and threw home to Schaffer, who made the tag for the inning-ending out.

"We need to figure out the pop fly stuff," Wyrick said. "If you give teams four or five outs an inning, you're going to be in trouble. And when you do it against a team like Blair Oaks, we were fortunate to come out with a win."

Wyrick was happy to see Dudenhoeffer stayed focused and aware to make the throw home.

"She didn't give up on the play, we tell them to keep playing until the play is over," he said. "That play wasn't over. Payton kept her head in the game, Paige made a great tag.

"It was just playing catch between those two."

Rehmeier finished with a four-hitter to get the win. She walked three and struck out 11.

"Rehmeier got stronger as the game went on, that's what I've seen from her when we've played them," Buschjost said.

Findley allowed five hits and three walks while striking out three.

"I know what she can do when she's on, she wasn't at that level because when she's on, she's about untouchable," Buschjost said. "But what I did like was the way she fought through it.

"She pitched well enough that we could have won that game."

Blair Oaks (4-1) is back in action Thursday with a Tri-County Conference contest at Boonville.

"Blair Oaks is deep and they can do a lot of things," Wyrick said. "They have to be one of the favorites to go far in the postseason."

Helias (8-4) will host New Bloomfield on Thursday in a late addition to the schedule.

Both teams will play Friday and Saturday in the Lady Jays Classic at Binder Park.

In Tuesday's JV game, Blair Oaks defeated Helias 8-0 in three innings.

Olivia Moyer struck out eight of the 10 batters she faced for the Lady Falcons, who improved to 4-2. Taylor Groner had two hits, including a triple, and three RBI, while Chesney Luebbering had two hits and Morgan Luebbering had two RBI.

Maddie Verslues had a single for the Lady Crusaders' lone hit.

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