North Photo

Oskaloosa catcher Charlie North relaxes prior to a pitch in a recent game this season.

OSKALOOSA — The Oskaloosa baseball community was buzzing last week as it came closer to Thursday night.

The Indians were scheduled to host a single varsity game against Little Hawkeye Conference leader Dallas Center-Grimes. This matchup was very important for Oskaloosa, as it needed to beat the Mustangs to keep a realistic chance at the Little Hawkeye Conference title.

Dallas Center-Grimes came into the game with two losses in the conference, while Oskaloosa had four losses. The two teams split with each other earlier this month in a double header at Dallas Center. Both teams came into Thursday red hot, as Dallas Center-Grimes had won nine of their last 10 games, while Oskaloosa had won nine of its last eleven games.

The Indians started arguably their most consistent pitcher through the half-way point of the season, in left-handed junior Colton Butler.

Dallas Center-Grimes did something a little shocking by pitching their two best pitchers the night before, in a doubleheader versus Newton, a team with no conference wins.

Oskaloosa had faced both of those pitchers in the previous two meetings with Dallas Center-Grimes, so the Mustangs probably did not want to show the Indians the same pitchers again. They started a lefty of their own in senior Garrett Anderson.

Anderson was solid early on with his unorthodox and varying delivery. Oskaloosa was able to tally a couple of base hits, but were held scoreless until the third inning.

The bottom of the third started with a leadoff base hit by Wyatt Krier, who advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Rian Yates. Tyler Miller then drove in Krier with a base hit of his own. Butler and Noah Van Veldhuizen would both single after Miller putting two more baserunners on for the Indians. After a strikeout, Oskaloosa was down to their final out of the third inning, when freshman William Schultz hit a line drive down the third base line, scoring both Butler and Van Veldhuizen. Oskaloosa would add two more runs in the fifth inning, when Butler started it off with another base hit; followed by a hit by Van Veldhuizen, a throwing error by Dallas Center-Grimes, and an RBI base hit by Cole Kraber.

Butler pitched a very good five innings for Oskaloosa. His only run allowed came in the top of the fifth inning when left-fielder Isaac Boley hit a solo home run for the Mustangs. Butler earned the victory for Oskaloosa, his fourth of the season, allowing one run on two hits, three walks, while striking out three.

Kraber and Krier finished the last two innings on the mound for the Indians. They pitched well but Dallas Center-Grimes showed late life, as Boley drove in another run in the top of the seventh inning. Krier was able to come in and get the final out of the game, giving Oskaloosa the 5-2 victory.

Oskaloosa had 12 hits in the game. Two each by Van Veldhuizen, Miller, Butler, Kraber and Schultz. Schultz had two RBI, while Miller and Kraber each drove in a run.

The win moved Oskaloosa’s record to 13-5 overall, and 9-4 in the conference. Dallas Center-Grimes sets at 9-3, with Indianola still in the hunt at 8-3.

Oskaloosa has another full schedule this week. The Indians hosted Newton for a doubleheader on Monday, then travel to Eddyville and Norwalk on Tuesday and Wednesday, before ending the week with two games at Pella on Friday.