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Oak Ridge softball claims second in invitational

Oak Ridge freshman Kinsley Bogenpohl leads the Bluejays in strikeouts with 68 through 10 games. Photo by Makenzie Ness

Oak Ridge baseball is not the only program that has fired up this season. Oak Ridge softball has also already surpassed last year’s win total of two with a current record of 6-4. Not to mention, the Lady Bluejays most recently claimed second place in the Oak Ridge Invitational Tournament.

The Bluejays took second in the tournament after a 4-3 win over the Arcadia Valley Tigers on Saturday. The game was won in the bottom of the seventh inning when junior second baseman Makayla Rangel singled on the first pitch, bringing home sophomore Madyson Ruehling.

Oak Ridge’s matchup with the Tigers was significant in more ways than one. It was also the Bluejays senior recognition game. There are four graduating players, including pitcher Allison Seabaugh, second baseman Mia Friese, right fielder Bailey Brewer and first baseman Zoe Berry.

Berry has had a great season so far for the Bluejays, she currently has 9 runs batted in and a batting average of .400. “I think the key is confidence at bat,” Berry said. “You just have to tell yourself you’ve got nothing to lose and hit the ball as hard as you can.”

Berry is a great player who has the ability to bring her team together. Oak Ridge head coach Jim Simpson said she’s one of the leaders for his team. Zoe went on to say this about her impact on the team, “I think I contribute energy the most. I like to hype everyone up and keep things positive.”

Freshman fireball Kinsley Bogenpohl led the team as the starting pitcher in the Bluejays matchup against Arcadia Valley. Kinsley struck out a total of 19 batters and only gave up three hits to lead them to victory. Offensively, she also scored two runs and had one RBI throughout the game.

For the Bluejays success this season, pitching has been a focal point. Bogenpohl and Seabaugh have combined for a total of 86 strikeouts with 68 and 18, respectively.

“I have the luxury of having two number-one pitchers and every time they take the ball they give me a quality performance,” Coach Simpson said.

Since Oak Ridge’s second-place victory, they have contributed two big wins to the count. They claimed a 19-0 victory against Grandview on the road. The Bluejays 15 run-ruled their opponents in the bottom of the third inning. They came back the next day and went on to beat Charleston 12-1.

Throughout Oak Ridge’s two recent wins, Bogenpohl produced six RBIs from her five at-bat appearances and allowed no hits in the combined seven innings she pitched. Sophomore shortstop Madalyn Schemel also combined for a triple and three runs in the team’s successes.

The underclassmen for Oak Ridge have proved they can step it up and play high school-level softball.

“Underclassmen make up a majority of the team, and I think they bring a lot of talent. I think Oak Ridge softball looks really good in the future,” graduating senior Berry said.

The Bluejays have also had to adjust to a new coaching staff, including Coach Simpson. Simpson is an experienced leader as he also coaches the Perryville Stars traveling softball team and has been able to teach the players a lot.

“We focus on having fun, one hundred percent hustle and one hundred percent focus, and we let winning take care of itself,” Simpson said.

The Bluejays have proved they can hang around with teams that have beaten them in previous years. Currently, they are 1-1 with Class 1 District 2 opponent Delta.

So far in matchups with Delta, the Bluejays beat the Bobcats 4-2 in the seventh inning of their first matchup when Junior designated hitter Alana Taylor hit a double scoring one run followed by Bogenpohl singling to bring home Brewer.

However, in their second contest against Delta, they gave up eight runs leading the Bobcats to a victory. When asked what needed to change in case of a postseason game with Delta, Coach Simpson said, “We just need to relax — we got tight and got down on ourselves.”

The Bluejays know what they need to improve on if they see the Bobcats in the postseason. “We need to work on our batting and be able to face different pitchers, and we need to work on staying up in energy when we are down,” Berry said.

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