April 12, 2013

Lightning win helps Iowa clinch ‘Battle of the Border’

OMAHA, Neb. — Iowa and Nebraska had played 15 games but the outcome between the two states would not be decided until the final game was finished. Oskaloosa was in that final game against Lincoln Bison and needed to win to tie the overall records at 8-8. If Oskaloosa wins and holds Lincoln below 3 runs the Lightning would win tie-breakers versus other 2-2 teams and give Iowa the win.

Oskaloosa jumped out 3-0 in the first after Tanner DeKock was hit by a pitch, K.J. McCrea, Blake VanVeldhuizen and Jayden VanRoekel all singled. The Lightning added three more in the second after a walk to Charlie Bandstra, Jacob Kime and Alex DeJong followed with singles and eventually scored to make it 6-0.

In the fourth, Oskaloosa added another run after Alex Chapman singled in Bandstra to make it 7-0. It was starting to look like Oskaloosa could pull it off, and win the trophy for Iowa.

The Bison were not through and put up a run in the fifth to make it 7-1. Both teams went scoreless the final two innings and the celebration was on.

Oskaloosa had nine hits with Tanner DeKock leading the way with a double, McCrea, VanVeldhuizen, Bandstra, Kime, DeJong and Chapman all added singles.

The tournament started bad for Oskaloosa.

The Lightning were beaten 7-2 by the Omaha Stampede and could only muster a single by VanRoekel.  

The bats were non-existent in the second game also as Oskaloosa lost 1-0 to the Bellevue Braves.

“Our pitching and defense was OK for the day but we couldn’t hit water if we fell out of a boat,” Lightning manager Doug DeKock said. “I told the kids the tournament would come down to us being able to upset the top team, Bellevue Bruins, Sunday morning.”

Sunday, Oskaloosa came out on fire with three straight hits. Tucker Nunnikhoven doubled and scored on a T. DeKock single. DeKock would score on a single by McCrea and the bats were alive. McCrea would later score making it 3-0 in the first. Oskaloosa would add a run in the sixth after T. DeKock walked, stole second and scored on VanVeldhuizen’s single.

K.J. McCrea pitched a six-inning masterpiece holding the Bruins to just two runs. The Bruins scored in double digits every other game in the tournament.

Spencer Tucker closed out the game in the seventh and momentum had shifted toward Iowa, as the states were tied 6-6 at that point. Oskaloosa had seven hits with Nunnikhoven ripping a double. T. DeKock, McCrea, VanVeldhuizen, VanRoekel, Tucker and Keaton DeKock added singles.

“We were as good on Sunday as we were bad on Saturday at the plate. We were looking at possibly going 0-3 for the tournament until that first inning breakout changed everything. These kids are very resilient and believe they can win any game. It was a great turnaround in one weekend and we are taking a good felling into next weeks tournament in North Liberty.” DeKock said.

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