By JIM GRIES
Herald sports editor
It was a very busy and successful day for the Oskaloosa softball team as it hosted its annual tournament Saturday at Lacey Complex.
The Indians swept their three games to remain unbeaten at 7-0 with a 12-3 rout of Twin Cedars, a 2-1 thrilling win over North Mahaska and a 4-2 triumph of Lynnville-Sully, which was ranked eighth in Class 1A.
“A great day for softball. I’m very proud of the kids,” Oskaloosa coach Jay Harms said. “They really came into the day focused and really came ready to play.
“When you win the last two games 2-1 and 4-2, every little play is really big and every pitch is big. That’s what we did. It’s always tough to play three games in one day and to be able to get three wins makes it even better.”
The first game of the day against Twin Cedars was decided in the very first inning as Oskaloosa struck for five runs on five hits.
Shawni Wills led off the inning with a single and Kelsie Tomlin walked. Callie Arnold delivered a doubled that scored Wills then Kylie Hills hit into a fielder’s choice to plate Tomlin. Winning pitcher Kylee Silliman (3-0) singled and Aubrey Miller ripped a two-run triple to right field to make it 4-0. An error by the Twin Cedars second baseman on a ball hit by Bethany Rowley scored Miller with the final run of the inning an Silliman needed no more support.
The freshman pitcher held the Sabers to five hits and fanned seven batters to win her third game of the season.
The Indians (7-0) added seven more runs in the second and third innings as Peyton Zickefoose had a home run in the second and a two-run double in the third doing the most damage.
Oskaloosa then met North Mahaska. and while the Indians didn’t get a lot of offensive punch, they didn’t need it as eighth-grader Alexis Groet kept the Warhawks (4-3) at bay.
Groet (3-0) struck out seven and limited North Mahaska to two hits with both coming in the final two innings.
The first two innings were scoreless until Oskaloosa tallied a run in the third as Kailyn Risher reached on an error and scored on an RBI single by Arnold.
The Indians got what proved to be the decisive run in the fifth as Wills had a one-out single and was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice by Tomlin. Arnold delivered a single and Zickefoose looped a single that just fell in short left field to bring Tomlin home.
Oskaloosa, which played solid defense throughout the day, had one of the more scintillating plays of the day in the eighth inning.
Michaela Heys singled, but was tagged out in a rundown, to begin the seventh and Makayla Ihde hit the short fly ball to center. It appeared to be dropping for a hit, but Tomlin cam running in and made a diving catch for the second out of the inning.
She later caught final out of the innings.
It was the second straight tough loss for North Mahaska as it fell to Pella Christian 6-5 on a run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
In that game, the Warhawks managed four hits with no one getting more than a hit. Sarah Bowen scored twice for the Warhawks.
Oskaloosa’s final game of the day was against Lynnville-Sully and again it was stout pitching that was the story of the contest.
This time, it was Zickefoose, who was making her first start of the season, that pitched a gem of the game. She gave up just two hits to the Hawks — both coming in the first inning — then retired the final 16 batters she faced before giving way to Groet.
“Peyton did her job first time out,” Harms said. “We were a little worried about her getting tired because she hasn’t thrown. She’s a type of pitcher who won’t overpower anybody and it worked to our advantage to bring Alexis in for the last inning.”
Lynnville-Sully got a run in the first inning off Zickefoose (1-0), but Oskaloosa bounced back in the bottom half of the inning as Wills doubled and Tomlin bunted her way on as Wills went to third. After a wild pitch moved Tomlin to second, Zickefoose had a sacrifice fly to score Wills and Hill doubled in Tomlin for the 2-1 lead.
The Indians added a run in the third then tacked on an insurance run in the sixth on doubles by Zickefoose and Silliman.
The Indians’ next game is Tuesday night at home against Washington.
Oskaloosa 12, Twin Cedars 3
TC 002 100 0 — 3 5
O 534 000 x — 12 13
Oskaloosa battery — Kylee Silliman (W, 3-0, 7 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K) and Shawni Wills, Alexis Westercamp (5)
2B — Callie Arnold, Aubrey Miller, Peyton Zickefoose. HR — Zickefoose.
Hits — Wills 2-for-3, Arnold 2-for-4, Zickefoose 2-for-3, Silliman 2-for-3, Miller 2-doe-4, Bethany Rowley 1-for-4, Kailyn Risher 1-for-4. Runs — Wills 2, Kirsti Edwards 2, Kelsie Tomlin 2, Kylie Hill 2, Miller, Zickefoose, Bailey Engelhardt, Brooke Caves. RBI — Zickefoose 3, Miller 3, Arnold 2, Silliman 1, Rowley 1, Hill 1.
Oskaloosa 2, North Mahaska 1
NM 000 001 0 — 1 2
O 001 010 x — 2 8
North Mahaska battery — Nicole Brand (L, 6 IP, 2 R, 8 H, 0 BB, 1 ) and Michaela Heys.
Hits — Heys 1-for-3, Caitlin Sampson 1-for-3. Run — Sampson.
Oskaloosa battery — Alexis Groet W, 3-0, 7 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 7 K) and Wills.
Hits — Wills 2-for-3, Zickefoose 2-for-3, Arnold 2-for-3, Silliman 1-for-2, Hill 1-for-3. Runs — Tomlin, Risher. RBI — Zickefoose,
Oskaloosa 4, Lynnville-Sully 2
L-S 100 000 1 — 2 3
O 201 001 x — 4 6
Oskaloosa battery — Zickefoose (W, 1-0, 7 IP< 2 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 4 K), Groet (1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K) and Wills.
2B — Wills, Zickefoose, Hill, Silliman.
Hits — Wills 2-for-3, Tomlin 1-for-3, Zickefoose 1-for-2, Hill 1-for-2, Silliman 1-for-2. Runs — Wills 2, Tomlin, Westercamp. RBI — Zickefoose, Hill, Silliman.
Pella Christian 6, North Mahaska 5
NM 031 010 — 5 4
PC 032 001 — 6 8
North Mahaska battery — LaRue (L, 5 IP, 6 R, 8 H, 7 BB, 3 K) and Heys.
Hits — Bowen 1-for-2, Ihde 1-for-2, Groenenboom 1-for-2, Heys 1-for-2. Runs — Bowen 2, Ihde 1, Ehret 1, Keira Blanke 1. RBI — Ihde 1, Groenenboom 1, Caprice Dye 1.