Oskaloosa Baseball Opens Season At Home

by Justin Burtis

Oskaloosa — It was a successful week for Indians baseball as the 2020 summer season was able to get under way this week. Winners of 3 out of four games, the Indians are in the hunt to top the Little Hawkeye Conference this season.

Monday saw the return of high school sports to Iowa as teams from around the state got into the baseball and softball season. For Osky, that meant an opening day contest against Pella Christian. With a clean top of the first, the Indians would pump across five runs themselves in the bottom half tacking on one more in the second and two in the fourth in route to the 8-3 final.

The pitching for the home side was stellar throughout the contest with Jarrett Czerwinski getting the start. He provided two excellent innings of one hit ball, notching three strikeouts as well.

Noah Van Veldhuizen and Colton Butler drove in the first runs of the year as each delivered singles. A fine stroke by Charlie North drove in the final two of the inning to put the Indians up 5-0 after one frame.

A sac-fly brought home one in the bottom of the second while a single and a groundout in the third brought home the final two runs for Osky to make it 8-0. That was all the pitching needed. Kale Bollinger and Wyatt Krier combined to give up one hit over two and one third, combing to walk two and strikeout one.

Tyler Miller was the only arm the Eagles could figure out. Luke Mulder drove in the first run for PC on his second base hit of the game before he worked his away around the bases and scored on a wild pitch. Blake Veenstra provided the highlight of the day for Pella Christian, as his screamer into right-center split the outfielders, resulting in a triple that drove in the third run of the game for the visitors.

With the lead trimmed by a few runs, the Indians turned to senior Van Veldhuizen to close the door in the seventh. With a runner on first, Van Veldhuizen was in the zone from the start as he fired in strike after strike in route to three straight Ks to retire the side and seal the first victory of the season for Oskaloosa.

With one win in the books, the team then took on Grinnell for a pair of games. The Tigers had won their first game and early on it seemed like they would steal one from Oskaloosa.

Colin Gibson drove home a run off a double in the third while Brady Steward, the starter for the Tigers, was slashing his way through the Indian line up as he ended the day going the distance, striking out six.

With just a smattering of base runners through five frames, Osky final got going during the third time through the lineup in the bottom of the sixth. Wyatt Krier, Ethan Christ, and Tyler Miller all reached base setting the stage for the senior sluggers. Van Veldhuizen and Butler both delivered base hits, with Butler’s scoring two. Colin Snitker drove in the final run on a sac fly to cap the comeback from the plate.

Czerwinsku started the game and battled through the first three and two thirds of the game while Wyatt Krier entered the game in the third and went two and two thirds. Both pitchers fanned four batters each while Krier did not allow a hit. Bollinger entered with one down in the bottom of the seventh and recorded the final two outs of the game. Osky totaled four runs on six hits and committed six errors. The held Grinnell to one run on four hits with one error in the books.

Game two between the Tigers and the Indians saw Bollinger take the mound as the starter. With a quiet first inning for both sides, it was Grinnell that again struck first with a run in the second.
Parker Johnson was in good form early as he went through the first three innings as his defense helped him keep the Indians off the board.

The dawn of the fourth inning saw Oskaloosa break through and push Johnson off the bump. Four runs came across, all starting with a lead off base hit to left by Miller. Butler made a beautiful bunt down the third base line to load up the pond for Snitker. He did not disappoint as he chopped one right over second and into center field. Two would score and a bad throw trying to get the advancing Butler out at third would let him score to give the Indians the lead. Bollinger helped his own cause by driving in the fourth run of the frame. Despite going down on the scoreboard, Grinnell made the final two outs with the bases juiced to keep the lead manageable.
However, Van Veldhuizen would lead off with a double in the fifth and Butler would bring him home on a single. Bollinger delivered a single to score two later on to complete the scoring for Oskaloosa. Miller came in to pitch in the fourth and struck out three in 2 and 2/3 of hitless throwing. Wes Wilcox came in to complete the game in the top of the sixth to keep Miller under the 40-pitch rule. He completed the game giving up three hits, one earned run, along with walking and striking out one batter.

The Indians completed the sweep and moved to 3-0 on the year. They scored seven runs of 13 hits while committing one error.

Though rain was a threat on Friday, the game against Dallas Center-Grimes for top spot in the conference went off without any major delays. Unfortunately, the Indians they ran into a hot pitcher in the form of Logan Smith. With a few hits across the innings, Osky could not muster a run and took their first loss of the year 2-0.

Van Veldhuizen did not disappoint early as he kept the home team at bay. He went four innings overall with 8 strikeouts. He only gave up two hits while only one of the runs were charged to him along with two walks.

Dallas Center-Grimes found a run in the bottom of the fourth and fifth. While the gap was close, the Indians could hardly buy a hit. Three knocks in total came from the lineup, with two from Charlie North and the other from Miller. The team was able to draw only two walks as well and the lack of base runners did not help their chances.

Czerwinski pitched the final two innings, walking one and striking out three while not giving up a hit. While the Indians fell to 3-1 on the year, the fact they stayed close with one of the top contenders does bode well for the rest of the season.

Standings – The Indians are tied with the Dutch in second place though Pella is 3-2 overall. DCG is at top at a perfect 4-0.
Stat Leaders – Miller has the most hits with six and best batting average at .600. Butler has six RBIs to lead the team. Miller also has the most steals and is a perfect 3-3 so far in that department. Three pitchers have a win while Van Veldhuizen paces the squad with 11 Ks to his name and the best ERA at 1.40

The week ahead – An even busier week comes up as the team will play a double header at Newton Monday, against Knoxville Tuesday, Norwalk at home Wednesday, and two games against Pella at home Friday.

Posted by on Jun 22 2020. Filed under School Activities. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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