OSKALOOSA — To paraphrase an old adage — "Beware of the plate who doesn't feel well."
Oskaloosa pitcher Hayle Hacker wasn't feeling the greatest this week heading into Thursday night's Class 4A regional softball quarterfinal.
She didn't show it.
The sophomore struck out 13 batters and allowed seven hits as the 14th-ranked Indians topped the Tigers 5-2.
Oskaloosa (23-14) will go to No. 13 Norwalk (20-14) Saturday in the regional semifinal.
Hacker (17-8) struck out the first batter of the game gave up a hit and the third batter reached on an error then fanned the next two to end the inning.
She only had one inning that she didn't strikeout a batter and added two more innings which she fanned three batters.
"We got a little bit nervous when they started hitting and getting more runs, but I knew we could come back and get it (win) with the hits," Hacker said. "I got my curve ball on a lot of right-handed batters, got it on the inside and made them choke up."
"Hayle was sick and came to practice yesterday (Wednesday) and we sent her home," Oskaloosa coach Jay Harms said. "She didn't feel well and had the stomach flu. She didn't feel the best tonight, but she gutted it out. She gave up that one home run pitch, but she threw a nice ball game tonight."
Oskaloosa didn't waste much time getting on top of Grinnell as Meghan Moorman singled to left and was replaced by courtesy runner Macie Krier. Grinnell tried to pick her off first, but catcher Kate Kriegel's throw hit Krier in the backend got to second. Ashley Kindley sacrificed he to third. Ava Vande Wall doubled to right to score Krier for the 1-0 lead after the first inning.
The Indians tacked on two more runs in the this as Kindley doubled to right-center, the third double of the game. An error moved Kindley to third and Abby Braundmeier scored Kindley with a sacrifice fly to right. Maddie Haines then hit a double to center and Sophia Dykstra blooped a single to left-center to bring home Haines to increase the lead to 3-0.
Oskaloosa added a run in the firth as Maleah Walker bunted her way on and reached second on another Grinnell error. A single by Moorman scored Walker and the Indians had a four-run cushion.
The Tigers cut into the lead in the fifth as Meredith McKnight had a one-out single and Megan Doty hit a two-run homer that glanced off the left-field foul pole to make it a 4-2 game.
But Oskaloosa answered right back in its half of the fifth for the game's final run.
Haines reached on an error and Dykstra followed with a single. After a pop out, Kaylee Johnson walked to load the bases and Walker had a bunt single to score Haines to put the game at 5-2.
After striking out the side in order in the sixth, Hacker had two runners on in the seventh. Doty doubled and Kriegel singled with one out in the inning. Hacker struck out Kiana Kies for the second out of the inning and got Ashlyn Imhoff to fly out to right to end the game.
Dykstra paced the Indians' 12-hit attack with two singles and a double with one RBI while Kindley had two of the teams five doubles and scored a run. Moorman had two singles and one run driven in while Walker also had two singles, one run scored and one RBI. Vande Wall doubled and knocked in a run as Haines had a single and scored twice. Wills had a single and Braundmeier drove in a run.
"We haven't been squaring the ball up that much for hitting the ball that deep in the outfield," Harms said. "They played us so deep in the outfield, it was hard to get the ball over their heads. So the doubles that we hit were definitely tattooed in the gaps. She showed a little power off McKnight."