By RICK PETERSON
Washburn Rural's softball team had a lot of new faces in its opening day lineup Tuesday at Hayden, but the result was what the Junior Blues have grown accustomed to, with Rural rolling to a 11-1, 12-1 sweep over their Centennial League rivals.
The Junior Blues broke open a close first game with an eight-run fifth inning and took command of the nightcap with a five-run first.
Washburn Rural had 21 hits on the day (11 in the opener), including six extra-base hits and a pair of home runs.
Senior Olivia Bruno and sophomore Emmerson Cope starred at the plate and on the pitching mound for the Junior Blues.
Bruno, a Kansas signee, twirled a two-hitter in the opener and went 4 for 4 with a home run, a double and a single.
Cope followed with a four-hitter in the second game and hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the first to put the Junior Blues in control.
"It was good to see us hitting well when we haven't seen a ton of live pitching in a while,'' Washburn Rural coach Tricia Vogel said. "It was nice just to see all the pieces going. I thought we did a great job with our base-running and it was really nice just to have a game.''
Bruno had six hits on the day and Cope four, adding a double in the first game to go with her second-game home run.
Junior Carly Stuke hit a fourth-inning homer to account for Hayden's run in the first game and senior Alyssa Dinkel singled and scored in the second game.
Tuesday was also the season-opener for Hayden and Wildcat coach Carvel Reynoldson said his team will use the games as a building block.
"Missing that entire year is like starting over,'' Reynoldson said. "It's like building a culture all over again and figuring out what we have, but I think we'll be OK.''
WASHBURN RURAL 11, HAYDEN 1
Washburn Rural 002 18 -- 11 11 0
Hayden 000 10 -- 1 2 4
Bruno and Louderback. Droge and Stuke. W -- Bruno. L -- Droge. 2B -- Washburn Rural: Bruno, Cope, Bath, Louderback. HR -- Washburn Rural: Bruno; Hayden: Stuke.
WASHBURN RURAL 12, HAYDEN 1
Washburn Rural 521 04 -- 12 10 0
Hayden 001 00 -- 1 4 1
Cope and Rapp. Drum, Droge (1) and Vanderslice. W -- Cope. L -- Drum. 2B -- Hayden: Stuke. HR -- Washburn Rural: Cope.