Blair Oaks softball team barreling toward another deep October run

Blair Oaks took a 17-game winning streak into Thursday's game at Fatima. (Tony Mullen/KRCG13)

WARDSVILLE --- There are five words that still give Sharon Buschjost a pit in her stomach.

That feeling.

Last year's state championship game ...

It doesn't really matter what words come before or after, the feeling is still there ... and to some extent, always will be.

"I think you're right," the Blair Oaks softball coach said. "I think it will stick with me forever --- the knife is still in there, it's just not as deep. You try to put perspective on it, but it still hurts."

In last year's state championship game, Blair Oaks trailed Centralia 1-0 in the top of the seventh, but scored a run to force extra innings, then scored again in the eighth to take a 2-1 lead.

What a feeling that was.

But in the bottom of the eighth, Alabama signee Madison Preston hit the most dramatic of home runs, a two-run shot to give Centralia the walk-off state championship.

"Knowing you had a team that close to celebrating a state championship and with one swing of the bat, it was gone," Buschjost said. "I've had some difficult losses, but that one's probably the toughest.

"I think of the Wide World of Sports, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. They (the players) just wanted to put their heads down and cry, and some did. I knew it hurt, because it was hurting me, too. But you still have to go through the medals ceremony and show respect to the other team, so it's a compliment to them on how they handled themselves."

After a loss like that, postgame words are basically hollow.

"That," Buschjost said, "was probably the toughest speech I've ever had to muster."

Do the returning players still feel the sting?

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