BUHL • The boom and bust nature of high school athletics — at least from a wins and losses standpoint — can see teams like Declo suffer through long droughts of mediocrity despite having talented classes with good students.

Losing begets losing — a class-to-class contagion.

That’s what the Hornets head softball coach Kari Osterhout pointed out after her team’s eye-opening 11-0 run-rule defeat of the always proud Buhl Indians Thursday afternoon.

And that’s how the ninth year head coach sought to break her program from the most recent cycle of losing — change it’s mentality.

“We’ve had a couple of really rough seasons the last two years and there is nowhere but up for us,” Osterhout said. “It is almost a complete turnaround this year.

“I did a lot of thinking and made some changes in terms of changing practice routine, and we are working a lot more on the mental part of the game. That was something that really got us down in the past. I see a whole different attitude in terms of believing in themselves and they all play well together. It’s the first time in nine years of coaching I’ve had this much depth to work.”

This could be the team Osterhout’s been waiting for, and it’s performance Thursday is likely just the beginning.

Thursday’s lineup looked like this: Freshman Mattie Ramsey, senior Michaela Thompson, sophomore Seannae Koyle, sophomore Maddie Mathews, sophomore Randi Briggs, sophomore Carolyn Osterhout, junior Madi Stoker, junior Alexis Wells, senior Clarrisa Bott, and sophomore Kamree Williams.

And there’s seven more on the bench that Osterhout is comfortable starting.

‘We have a lot of skill on this team,” said junior Madi Stoker, who hit a three-run homer, the first over the fence four-bagger of athletic her career.

“I didn’t know it went over until I went past second,” Stoker said. “It was like, whoa, I just hit over the fence,”

These Hornets — who mashed 15 hits and had 10 walks Thursday — could be surprising themselves a lot this year.

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“Ignorance is bliss, right,” Osterhout said. “We going with it; we are running with it.”

Notes

Osterhout compared freshman Mattie Ramsey to previous Declo greats Brenley Breshears, Melissa Carson-Searle...”(Ramsey) is coachable, athletic and a quick learner.”... Starting ace Clarissa Bott should soon return from injury... Buhl head coach Derrick Brinkman said he likes his team this year despite what he called a poor effort Thursday...The Indians scored 27 runs and swept Gooding to open the season.

Notable Stats

Declo senior Michaela Thompson earned the win, striking out two in six shutout innings...Stoker, Osterhout, Ramsey, Matthews and Bott all had multiple hits.

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