VALPARAISO – With a 10-run win over Fort Calhoun, Raymond Central finishes the first three weeks of its season with a record of 4-8.
After a 0-4 start to the season, the Mustangs have bounced back to win four of their last eight games.
The latest win was a run-rule-shortened offensive storm over the Pioneers on Sept. 3.
Injuries had plagued the Mustangs on the diamond in previous games but versus Fort Calhoun, they were at full strength.
Junior pitcher Calleigh Osmera was back on the rubber for Raymond Central after missing key starts the week before.
Osmera’s reemergence allowed Coach Barb Ohnoutka to play her players in their usual positions and the difference was evident in the final score.
On Aug. 31, losses to Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan and Twin River, the Mustangs committed a total of six errors and allowed a total of 20 runs.
Against Fort Calhoun, Osmera would only allow one run on one hit with the defense playing error-free softball.
After the Pioneers scratched together a run in the top of the second inning, the Mustang bats came alive.
Ohnoutka said that she could tell that her team was a little overeager in the first inning.
“They were swinging at stuff they shouldn’t have been swinging at,” Ohnoutka said. “I told them they had to get their weight back and sit on pitches and just start to take their time to hit.”
The advice worked.
The Raymond Central offense exploded for seven runs as they batted through the order.
Fort Calhoun defensive woes did not help its situation either as the Mustangs sprayed the ball around the diamond.
An inning later the Mustangs put on the final touches.
Four Raymond Central hitters crossed home to push the lead to 10.
Osmera and the Mustang defense did the rest.
After the second inning, Osmera did not allow a baserunner, finishing her day with four strikeouts and no walks in four innings of work.
“You can tell she’s feeling better,” Ohnoutka said about Osmera’s performance coming off an injury. “She looked more relaxed on the mound, wasn’t thinking so much about the hitters. I think she just allowed her talents to come through tonight.”
Earlier in the week, the Mustangs sandwiched a 12-11 win over Ord between their losses to Fillmore Central/ Exeter-Milligan and Twin River at the Fillmore Central Tournament.
On Aug. 29, Raymond Central dropped two games to Class B foes Bennington and Beatrice, 0-14 and 0-17 respectively.
Aug. 27, the Mustangs grabbed their first two wins of the season. A three-run win over Yutan/Mead and a walk-off win over North Bend Central. Sophomore Lizzie Potter ripped a two-run double to send the Mustangs home happy.