The unofficial Queens of Central Missouri Softball wear Green.
After Blair Oaks and Jefferson City both disposed of Helias last week, the Lady Falcons jumped out to a 5-0 lead Thursday and held on to beat the Lady Jays 5-3 at the Legion Complex.
"I'm happy for our players," Blair Oaks coach Sharon Buschjost said. "All of these players know each other well and have a lot of respect for one another.??
"So I guess our kids can claim the bragging rights for a year."
Buschjost --- while winning her 307th game (No. 300 came against Russellville on Sept. 3) --- was happy, and justifiably so.
Lisa Dey? Not so much. Her team's effort reminded her of Kansas.
"Take nothing away from Blair Oaks, but we were flat, really flat," said Dey, the Lady Jays head coach. "What's the cause, what's the reason? I have no idea."??
The Lady Falcons (8-2) scored two runs in the first inning and were never headed, both coming home courtesy of a two-out, two-run single by sophomore Payton Staggs.??
"All hits are huge," Buschjost said, "but those two-out hits, those two-out RBI are so big. It just put a little more pressure on Jeff City, I think."??
All five of Blair Oaks' runs scored with two outs.??
"When you get close to getting out of an inning but don't, it makes such a big difference," Buschjost said. "Anytime you can add on with two outs, it's a good thing."??
The last three runs for Blair Oaks --- two in the second inning, one in the sixth --- were unearned.??
"We made a couple of crucial errors," Dey said. "We just have to do a better job than that."??
The Lady Falcons finished with eight hits --- a hit apiece by eight different players --- while Sara Jones had the team's other RBI.??
Meanwhile, the Lady Jays (9-2) were blanked until the bottom of the sixth by Staggs, who tossed a seven-hitter to get the win.??
"They are a great hitting team," Buschjost said of the Lady Jays. "It's tough to keep that team scoreless for that long, and Payton did a great job of it.??
"And when she did face situations with runners on, she's was able to get out of most of those and that's what's building her pitching reputation."??
Staggs, who walked seven and hit a batter, didn't have a 1-2-3 inning.??
"Nothing was easy, Buschjost said. "She battled."??
The Lady Jays broke through in the sixth on an RBI single by Darby Brundage --- the No. 9 hitter was the only player in the game with two hits --- and a two-run single by Brooke Rozier.??
But the Lady Jays stranded 12, including the bases loaded in the sixth.??
"We had opportunities," Dey said. "One hit in a couple of innings would have made a difference in the game. As a coach, you want kids on base and we did that. We just didn't come through when we needed to."??
Rozier had the at-bat of the game --- and it wasn't in the sixth inning. In the third, she fouled off no less than nine pitches in a 15-pitch at-bat before drawing a walk.??
"That was a great at-bat," Dey said. "Then what does she do the next time? She gets a key hit, and a lot of that was about being selective and patience. We needed more of that."??
Krista Brickey took the loss for the Lady Jays, who host Rolla on Friday, while the Lady Falcons will compete UCM Tournament Friday and Saturday.