Last night was the night that eight teams from Class 3A and 4A punched their ticket to the state baseball tournament at Principal Park in Des Moines. Unfortunately, Oskaloosa was not one of those teams.
On the Mahaska Zone Network last night, you heard Oskaloosa give top-ranked Pella a fight, but the Indians fell short, 7-4. Oskaloosa was not fazed by the fact that they had been outscored by Pella 22-2 in their three meetings earlier this season. They would hop all over starting pitcher Tanner Wood in the top of the first, as Ethan Arnold came through with a two-out two-run double to put Osky on top 2-0 before Pella even batted.
Pella responded as a top team should, however, as freshman Landon VanderLeest belted a two-out three-run double to give Pella the lead in the bottom of the first.
Pella would scratch across a few more runs off the Indians to take a 6-2 lead heading into the 6th. Oskaloosa would not go quietly, as a couple of runners reached base and Wood was lifted in favor of Grant Judkins, who is likely an all-state player both on the mound and at the plate. Judkins wouldn’t have a whole lot of luck either, as Mitchell Schaffner worked a bases-loaded walk and Joe Sterner hit an RBI infield single to keep the inning alive and trim the lead to 6-4.
The next batter was freshman Alex DeJong to face Judkins with two outs. DeJong connected right back up the middle on a hotshot, but Judkins miraculously knocked the speedy hit down and made the play at first to get out of the jam. If the hit was a foot to either side, the hit likely would have tied the game for Oskaloosa, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Pella would add an insurance run in the bottom of the 6th, and then Judkins sat down Osky 1-2-3 in the 7th to complete the game and send the Little Dutch to the state tournament.
Oskaloosa finished their season an outstanding 22-11 in their second year under Head Coach Clint Gingerich. Six seniors played their last game for Oskaloosa on the diamond, including Colton Swanson, TJ Boyle, Logan Lunsford, Mitchell Schaffner, Nate VanVeldhuizen, and Ki-Jana DeJong.
We will have a full wrap on both Oskaloosa baseball and softball this Saturday morning on the Fifth Quarter Show. That begins at 8:30 AM this Saturday on 104.9 FM KBOE and on kboeradio.com.
Pella is seeded #2 in the state with the seeding process and will face conference foe Dallas Center-Grimes in the first round next Tuesday at 7:30 PM at Principal Park. DCG was a thorn in Pella’s side, sweeping them in the conference doubleheader earlier this year. Pella did not throw either Wood or Judkins in those games, which are their two top pitchers. We’ll have updates from scores in the state tournament when it begins later this week.