If the 2016 State Softball Tournament wasn’t thrilling enough for Oskaloosa supporters, the beginning of the 2017 edition should kickstart their adrenaline.
#4 Osky played from out front in their Class 4A Quarterfinal against #5 Mount Pleasant, but had to go into extras to pull out a 3-2 win and advance to the final four.
The game began with Oskaloosa’s Alexis Groet and Mount Pleasant’s Cali Liechty trading clean innings through three. In the top of the 4th, Mount Pleasant would threaten, but a great catch and throw by Josie Bunnell in left field got the Indians out of the jam with a double play.
In the bottom of the 4th, Osky finally broke through on the scoreboard. Ava VandeWall singled and that was followed by an Aubrey Miller double off the left field wall. Taylor Wills would fly out, but Maddie Haines would draw a walk to load the bases with just one out.
Freshman Meghan Moorman came to the plate and dumped a little blooper into shallow left field. Panther shortstop Anni Liechty made a great catch ranging into left, but was upended by left fielder Chi Glaha who was also trying to make the catch. After Liechty fell down, Coach Jay Harms sent VandeWall from third and she would score ahead of the throw.
Mount Pleasant immediately would answer, however, as they would get a leadoff single by Makayla Cam, and she would score on a Chi Glaha double with two outs in the 5th.
The game would stay there until the bottom of the 6th, when Taylor Wills would launch her second home run of the season. The moonshot to straight away centerfield gave Osky a late 2-1 lead with just three outs left to get.
As they have all season, the Panthers battled back, getting a leadoff single by Allison Buckert and she immeiately stole second. After a couple of quick outs, Glaha came through with an RBI single to tie the game off of Groet.
We went into the 8th, and Groet settled back in, striking out the dangerous Bailey Johnson and getting the Panthers 1-2-3 to set up the middle of the Osky order in the bottom half of the inning.
Aubrey Miller led off with a walk and that was followed by a Wills single. Haines would pop out, and that would bring Moorman back to the plate with the potential game-winning run at second base. After Emily Richmond entered as a pinch runner for Miller, Moorman crushed a ball off the base of the centerfield wall to get the RBI and give Osky the win.
Alexis Groet picked up the win in the circle, striking out 11 Panthers and allowing just six hits.
The Indians are into the state semifinals for the second straight year, and they will face #1 Winterset, who enter at 33-7 after a 5-2 win over #8 Sergeant Bluff-Luton on Tuesday.
That state semifinal will be played on Thursday morning at 11:30 AM on Diamond 2 at Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge. You can hear the action live on 104.9 FM KBOE, 99.5 FM/740 AM KMZN, kboeradio.com, radiokmzn.com, and the KBOE and KMZN mobile apps. The pregame show will begin around 11:15 AM.