By Sam Parsons
The Oskaloosa Indians’ softball and baseball teams played on Thursday and Friday in the first round of the postseason, but both squads were turned away in tight games.
The lady Indians traveled to Newton and found themselves in a fast-moving pitcher’s duel with the Cardinals. Newton junior Hailey Sumpter got the start in the circle to face Osky sophomore Shannon Van Rheenen and the two traded scoreless innings for much of Thursday night.
There was no better indicator of the flow of Thursday’s game than the way in which the only run of the game scored: in the bottom of the 2nd, the Cardinals’ Peyton Durr reached base on a swinging 3rd strike on a wild pitch to lead off the inning. On the next play, junior Kadance Ahn laid down a bunt and reached 1st base on a throwing error, but Durr was thrown out in a rundown between 2nd and 3rd, but after Ahn moved up to 2nd, an RBI single off the bat of 8th grader Morgan Frehse brought her in. The lone run of the game had scored, and it was of the unearned variety.
Osky would threaten Newton offensively in innings 3, 4, and 5, with runners in scoring position each time around; however, Sumpter waded through the issues without sustaining any damage. Van Rheenen went the distance for the Indians and wouldn’t give up any earned runs, but it wasn’t enough to get by the Cardinals as the game ended 1-0.
Oskaloosa (12-24) graduates two decorated seniors from the team in Lucy Roach and Maleah Walker.
Oskaloosa drew #7 Knoxville as their first round matchup in a rematch of a doubleheader that saw both games go down to the wire in May.
The game started about as well as it could have for the Indians: senior catcher Aiden North led the game off with a single and two batters later, junior third baseman Wyatt Grubb reached with a single of his own. A wild pitch sprinkled in resulted in both runners reaching scoring position, and with two outs in the top of the 1st, freshman pitcher Linus Morrison came through with a line drive, 2 RBI single to put the Indians up 2-0. Morrison would go to the mound in the bottom of the 1st and set the Panthers down in order, 1-2-3.
From there, however, the story of the game can be told in terms of senior Bo Leisure’s dominance on the mound for Knoxville, as well as unforced errors on the part of the Indians’ pitching and defense.
After surrendering the 2 RBI single to Morrison, Leisure would retire the next 14 Indian batters consecutively and only three more Indians would reach base in the entire game; they wouldn’t score any more runs, and Leisure finished the night with 14 strikeouts in the complete game.
On the flip side, Knoxville first got on the board in the bottom of the 2nd inning. After picking up two quick outs to start the frame, Morrison walked the next 3 Panther hitters in order, and with the bases loaded and 2 outs, an error by the Indians’ defense resulted in 9 hole hitter Kade Bellon reaching base and driving in the Panthers’ first run of the game. One RBI single by sophomore Trey Wight later, and the game was tied 2-2.
Knoxville wouldn’t take long from there to grab the lead. In the bottom of the third, Trenton Kingery and Bo Leisure reached on back-to-back singles to end Morrison’s day. Sophomore Jaden DeRonde took over and struck out the first hitter he faced, but walked the next two and then hit another, a span which included a passed ball that scored both Kingery and Leisure, making it 4-2 Panthers.
DeRonde would make it through the rest of the inning without further damage, and he wound up with a fine evening in relief, pitching 3.2 innings without surrendering an earned run. The lone other run to score came in the bottom of the 6th, aided by two errors from the Indians’ defense.
The rainy Friday night saw the Indians’ staff finish with 8 walks and 1 hit batter with 3 errors by the Indians’ defense, but the Panthers played a clean game on the other end, and that proved to be the difference maker as Knoxville moved on with a 5-2 victory.
Oskaloosa finishes their season at 9-26 and they graduate 8 seniors: Aiden North, Austen Coenen, Caleb Cohrt, Kam Criss, Logan Hoskinson, Jarrod Parks, Tucker DeJong, and Cael Butler.