Oskaloosa vs Pella Christian

Oskaloosa's Lydia Van Veldhuizen beats the tag of Pella Christian's Natalie Harrill

PELLA — The ball was flying out on Eagle Lane on Monday night when Oskaloosa met with Pella Christian in a Little Hawkeye Conference battle. Both teams hit two home runs and combined for 24 hits on the night but it was the Indians coming through with a couple of big innings to beat the Eagles 11-4 and snap a seven-game losing streak.

“Our kids played together tonight,” Oskaloosa head coach Jay Harms said. “We were able to come out and hit the ball hard early and I think really gave us some confidence. The ball was jumping out of here tonight. I was really happy the way that we swung the bat and defensively we really cut down on our mistakes and that's been really hurting us lately.”

The Oskaloosa bats got going early with six of the first seven batters reaching safely as Olivia Gordon would start the scoring by blasting a three-run homer over the left field fence. Pella Christian would later strand Indian runners on second and third to limit the damage to 3-0.

PC would get one back in the bottom of the first with Emri Agre staying hot and connecting on one over the right-center fence for her sixth homer of the season and her third in her last three games to make it 3-1. But similarly it was Osky avoiding any more damage as they would strand the bases loaded to get out of the first.

The Eagles would draw within one in the third inning with Emma Eekhoff getting a hold of one and launching it over the left field wall for her second of the season to cut it to 3-2.

Oskaloosa got the sticks going again in the fifth inning with Alexis Price getting a leadoff single followed up by Lydia Van Veldhuizen knocking one deep to left for a two-run blast. They would then rally to get three more with two outs on a RBI single poked to left by Gordon and two-RBI single by Lucy Roach to make it 8-2 in favor of the visitors.

The Eagles were looking to answer back and they were on their way to doing so with their first two batters reaching base to put runners on first and second with no outs. But their fortunes would quickly change as Alexa Dunsbergen would pop up to the pitcher, who would fire it to first and then to second to catch both PC runners leaning the wrong way for an old fashion 1-3-4 triple play to quickly end the inning.

“That was big at that particular point in the game,” Harms said of the triple play. “I’ve been coaching 45 years and it's only the second one I've seen.”

The Indians would use that momentum and add a run in each of the next three innings. Shannon Van Rheenen flared one to left for an RBI single in the fifth, Price ripped one to left for a RBI single in the sixth and Van Rheenen brought in another run with an RBI groundout in the seventh.

PC got two back in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI triple by Agre and a sac fly by Natalie Harrill but Osky would get the final out to get the 11-4 win.

Agre led PC on the night going 2-for-4 with a triple, home run and two RBIs while Eekhoff was 2-for-3 with a walk, single and home run.

Dunsbergen took the loss after pitching 3 2/3 innings with Trinity Vos pitching the rest of the way in relief.

Gordon would lead the Osky bats going 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs while Van Rheenen was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and Van Veldhuizen was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.

Presley Blommers got the win in the circle and made several impressive plays fielding her position. She pitched all seven innings and would give up four runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts..

“Presley’s a competitor,” Harms said. “She saved us on some balls in front of the mound. That was huge, she really covers ground well there. She came to me and said coach I'm willing to take the ball and pitch doubleheaders and whatever we need. it’s ended up being more than that but she stepped up and really has done a great job.”

The win snapped a seven-game losing streak for Oskaloosa but wins have been hard to come by as they are just 2-12 in their last 14 games and haven’t won back to back games since beating Pella Christian twice in a doubleheader on June 10. They will try to take some momentum from Monday and ride it through the rest of the week with the postseason just around the corner.

“We saw a little bit different team than we've seen here in the past few days,” Harms said. “Let's just hope that that's what we needed to give us a little jump start and get us going here. I told them don't worry about wins and losses, have a passion for the game and just play. it's a privilege to be out here playing because you never know what's going to happen day to day. For the next hour and a half to two hours just play with everything you got and have no regrets when you walk off. I thought our kids really responded tonight.”

Oskaloosa (9-19, 6-12 LHC) hosts senior night on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. when they take on Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (13-12) while Pella Christian (8-19, 3-14 LHC) wraps up their regular season on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. when they host Pella (10-19, 5-13 LHC) for a doubleheader.

Colin Peters can be reached at 641-672-2581, by email at cpeters@oskyherald.com or on Twitter @ColinPetersOH.

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