Indians struggle to get runs across the plate

Alex DeJong/The HeraldSenior Ashley Kindley getting ready to throw out a West Des Moine player. Sophomore Maddie Haines is in the back, backing up Kindley, watching the play.

OSKALOOSA— The rain finally went away and the sun came out to what made it a perfect night for Indian softball.

On Wednesday night the Oskaloosa Indians had a very tough challenge. The Oskaloosa Indians, ranked seventh in 4A faced West Des Moines Valley, who are ranked number one in 5A. Both teams going into this game where 2-0.

This was the first home game for the lady Indians this season and it started off a little shaky. The Tigers scored three in the first inning. Alex Honnold led off for the Valley Tigers by hitting a single into left field. Next, Hailey Etzel moved the runner and reached on base by placing a very nice bunt down third base side. The next batter got out but then the designated hitter Haley Gatica hit one up the middle and two runs scored off of a throwing error. The throwing error also allowed Gatica to reach third and then later score that inning.

In the bottom half of the first inning, batter Ava Vande Wall led off the inning with a base hit to right field. Next batter Ashley Kindley lays down a sacrifice bunt to move Vande Wall to second but the next two batters got out and stranded Vande Wall on second.

After the first inning, the Indian defense settled in and bounced back allowing the Tigers to no runs until the sixth inning. The defense had some great plays including Kindley's nice play and throw to end the fourth inning.

Coach Harms was very pleased with the way Hayle Hacker and Faith DeRonde threw.

“Hack threw very well," he said. "She did a nice job mixing it up and if we make some plays it should be one to nothing coming out of the first inning instead of three to nothing."

He also said, “I thought Faith came in and threw the ball well. I can't be displeased by the pitching staff. We've played three games and those two pitchers have thrown very well for us.”

Hack threw sixth innings and Faith threw one.

The Indians had something going in the second inning when Meghan Moorman started it off with a lead off single. Sophia Dykstra then laid down a sacrifice bunt that the catcher threw over first base allowing Moorman to third and Dykstra to second. However, the struggles continued for the Indians to get runners across the plate and both were left on base.

The next few innings Oskaloosa get some more baserunners but couldn't manage to get them in.

Coach Harms said “Right now we stranded a lot of runners. Our big boppers, our bats just aren’t getting the hits right now even though we had seven tonight and 16 between the two games Saturday, so that's 23 hits in three games. It's gonna be winning a lot of ball games but we have only scored seven runs. So again we've got to have players step up to the plate and get key hits for us, we need someone to pop one for us and hopefully, that's gonna kind of wake us up."

In the top half of the seventh inning, it got away from the Indians as Valley scored three more runs. The Indians had a couple more errors which gave the Tigers base runners.

Dykstra got things going for the Indians in the bottom of the seventh with an infield single. Taylor Wills also reached on an infield single. The next two batters got out. However, Ava Vande Wall hits a two out RBI single to get a run in for the Indians. Next up was Kindley who hits a rope but it happened to be right at the second basemen that ended the game.

The Indians fell to West Des Moines Valley 8-1.

Vande Wall led the Indians with two hits and the only RBI. Behind Vande Wall was Kindley, Haines, Moorman, Dykstra, and Wills who all had one hit each.

Overall, Coach Harms thought they battled against a quality ball club.

“It's disappointing, yeah. Against good teams, you got to make plays and we didn't make plays that you gotta make, you know, routine plays," he said. "And against good teams, its gonna come back and bite you and we just gave them too many opportunities and they are too good of hitters to do that."

Harms believes they will be just fine and just need to get better and get back into a routine.

“I think we've got the makings of a good ball club," he said. "We're just gonna get better and we just keep telling our kids we just have to improve on some things and they are definitely correctable.”

The team just needs to play, Harms said.

“We just have to get in a routine and just get going," he said. "If we wouldn't have played tonight it would have been a week since last time and that's just a long lay off, so we're hoping to get good weather here and start playing and just getting into it.”

Playing against this kind of ball club, he believes, even though they lost tonight they got more out of tonight then they got out of playing two games on Saturday.

As Harms said, “It's not how you start, it's how you finish and where you finish and we think by the end of the season we can be a pretty darn good ball club.”