July 15, 2013

Trojans end Osky softballers season in regional

Herald sports editor


Oskaloosa softball Jay Harms knew coming into its Class 4A Region 6 semifinal game that Fairfield was a good hitting team.
The Trojans (30-11) proved that by getting nine hits off Oskaloosa eighth-grader Alexis Groet and recording the 6-1 victory Saturday night.
The win sends Fairfield into Tuesday night's regional final at No. 7 Winterset, which shut out Pella 7-0.
The Indians end the season at 23-11.
"We had seen them play three times and their strength is their hitting," he said. "They're very good hitters and very discipline at the plate. They got a couple of bloop hits that broke the game open and got us down a little bit.
"I thought Alexis pitched very well. Her ball was moving a litle bit and we knew they would hit the ball on her. We just didn't make enough plays. We got ourselves into trouble by not making plays and against a team that hits the ball well, you've got to make those plays. We didn't do that tonight."
The Trojans got all the runs they needed in the third inning when they tallied three times on just two hits.
Sydnee Burnett reached on a one-out error and Kenady Waugh blooped a single to short right field as Burnett went to third on the hit. After Waugh stole second, Marisa Repp walked to load the bases and Mackenzie McClure got on base on an error to score Burnett. Karley Williams followed with a two-run bloop double to plate Repp and McClure for the 3-0 lead.
Fairfield tacked on a run in the fourth as McKenna Ledger singled down the right-field line and Brynna Bowman pinch-ran for her. Groet struck out the next two batters before Katie Anderson singled to left to score Bowman to give the Trojans a 4-0 cushion.
Oskaloosa finally got to Fairfield pitcher Alli Deao in the bottom half of the fourth when the Indians tallied their lone run of the contest.
Peyton Zickefoose, who had three hits in the game, led the inning with a single and pinch runner Saydee Smith went to second on a Kylie Hill sacrifice bunt. Kylee Silliman singled Smith over to third and Aubrey Miller's single to center scored Smith to trim the deficit to 4-1.
But Fairfield put the game out of reach by getting a run in the sixth and seventh innings to close out the Indians' 2013 campaign.
Oskaloosa committed five errors in the game and the Trojans turned those into five unearned runs. Harms knew a team can't make mistakes like that and expect to win.
"Against a team like this, you can't make mistakes like that because they will put pressure on you," he said. "That definitely hurt us. We knew coming in we had to play a good, solid game defensively and hopefully, get timely hits. We thought we hit a little bit better than we did. We had some opportunities, but we didn't get the key hits. 
"Earlier in the season, we were picking those runners up, getting the key hits. Once we hit that losing streak, we had a hard time picking those runners up."
The regional quarterfinal loss ended the high school careers for seniors Hill, Shawni Wills and Kirsti Edwards.
Harms had some very fond memories of the three seniors. 
"Shawni was a four-year starter for us and played a lot of positions in her four years," he said. "Catcher might not be her greatest position, but she did just a great job of blocking balls back there.
"Kylie's been out for five years and finally got a chance to play as a senior and had a phenomenal year. I'm happy for her.
"Kirsti's showed a lot of courage. She only played softball two years and had been out of softball a couple of years and came back out this year. She gave us some speed on the bases. They were a nice group of seniors to have."
Harms is optimistic about the Indians' future on the field with a lot of young players getting valuable playing time.
"We had a lot on young kids playing and hope we can keep building," Harms said. "We've got a girl in the center with the ball that had a great season. She (Groet) set a school record for strikeouts in a season and is one we can build around. With her on the mound, she can make us competitive and we've got some good young kids coming back and should be a competitive team next year."
Fairfield 6, Oskaloosa 1
FF     003     101     1     —     6     9
O     000     100     0     _     1     7
Oskaloosa battery — Alexis Groet (L, 16-5, 6 R, 9 H, 2 BB, 8 K) and Shawni Wills.
Hits — Peyton Zickefoose 3-for-4, Callie Arnold 2-for-4, Kylee Silliman 1-for-3, Aubrey Miller 1-for-3. Run — Saydee Smith. RBI — Miller.