It's dangerous to try and get into a shootout with Augusta's softball team, but for a while, it worked for Wellington.
The Crusaders took it to the Orioles early in game 2 of Thursday's doubleheader. Payton Adams, Sierra Walker and Abby Goodrum connected for three straight RBI base hits in the first inning for a 4-0 lead.
Augusta came back with a three-run inning of its own highlighted by Casady Marlnee, who crushed a two-run homer deep to left field. But Wellington scored three more in the second for a 6-3 lead.
The Orioles proved to be too much. They batted around the order, and then some, in the bottom of the third to blow open the game on way to a 17-7 run-rule win after five innings. Augusta had already beaten Wellington 11-2 in the opener.
Marlnee hit a two-run homer in the first game, as well. With three homers already, Marlnee attributes her fast start to the season to improved mechanics.
"I saw the ball last year. I just feel like I'm not casting my hands this year, and I'm not rolling them," Marlnee said. "I'm just driving the ball more...This year I'm attacking the ball with the head of the bat."
Marlnee also had a double and finished 2-for-4 in the nightcap. She isn't the only Oriole who has started the season strongly. Kylie Wesbrooks blasted a two-run home run in the same inning as Marlnee's in game 1, and she had an RBI single in game 2.
"I got my head right finally," Wesbrooks said. "Last year I struggled whenever I'd do one thing wrong. I'd get down. This year, I'm able to shake it off, and I have more confidence in what I do."
Down 6-3 in the second inning of game 2, Carley Phillips showed off her speed with an infield single, then later stole second base. She moved to third on an error, then scored after Morgan Kirk blasted a two-RBI shot up the middle. The Orioles cut it to 6-5.
In the third, Abby Tipton hit a double, Bre Burkett reached on an error and Phillips walked. Then the runs started coming in. Taylor Hinnenkamp and Wesbrooks hit back-to-back RBI singles. Kirk hit an RBI double. Katy Nordman hit a sacrifice fly. Then Brooke Eberhardt blasted a two-run shot to dead center field as the offense kept rolling.
"Offensively, we pound the ball. That's why we're called bomb squad and we have bomb squad shots," Marlnee said.
In the fifth, Lauren Fern drove in Tipton to score the final run for the 17-7 run-rule win.
The Orioles have next week off. They return to action Monday, April 21 at McPherson.
-Augusta's JV team beat Wellington 7-1 and 12-0 for the sweep.