Indians advance to state softball tournament

The Oskaloosa softball team celebrates its 1-0 Class 4A regional final win over No. 2 ADM Tuesday night. The Indians will face North Scott at 3 p.m. next Tuesday at the state softball tournament in Fort Dodge.

ADEL — Oskaloosa's softball team didn't have a lot of offense in its Class 4A regional final against second-ranked ADM Tuesday night.

But then the 14th-ranked Indians didn't need much.

The Indians managed just one run and two hits against the Tigers, but Oskaloosa sophomore Hayle Hacker didn't allow any Tigers to score as the Indians advance to the next week's state tournament in Fort Dodge with the 1-0 win.

Oskaloosa, which will be making its fifth appearance in the state tournament, takes its seventh seed and a 25-14 record into the state tournament on Tuesday against No. 2 seed North Scott (26-14) at 3 p.m. Tuesday on Kruger Seeds Field at the Harlan Rogers Sports Complex.

The Lancers beat Fairfield 3-0 in another regional final Tuesday night.

Oskaloosa tallied the game's only run in the fourth as Ava Vande Wall singles with one out and went to second on a wild pitch. Abby Braundmeier followed with another single to move Vande Wall to third. Maddie Haines dribbled the ball to ADM first baseman Sierra Wyant, who threw the ball to catcher Brylee Person. Vande Wall slid under the Person's tag to put the Indians on top 1-0.

It looked like the Tigers, who close the season at 28-7, was a going to jump on top early on the Indians.

Morgan Meyer and Olivia Tollari opened the game with singles. Hayle Hacker got the next two batters to pop out to shortstop Maddie Haines.Allya Yanga was intentionally walked to load the bases. But Hacker got out of the huge jam by getting Brooke Hickey looking.

"Huge, oh my gosh," said Oskaloosa coach Jay Harms of getting out of the fist-inning jam. "It worked out well for us because we had a base open so we could put Yanga on. That was huge because she was the one that hit that two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh to beat Newton (in the semifinal). We didn't want to face her or Abbie Hlas. Hack pitched Hlas so tough that last time, that was huge."

"That was amazing. Hayle pitched light out," said Oskaloosa third baseman Ashley Kindley, who was on the 2016 state-championship team. "She stayed with it. She stayed sharp. Every batter, she battled through and overcome them."

ADM had another chance to to gain the early advantage in the third when Has had a one-out double and Yanga walked, but Hacker coaxed Hickey to foul out to end the threat.

The Tigers appeared to get a runner on base leading off the fifth when Tollari grounded the ball to Vande Wall. Tollari fell to the ground and the umpire pulled interference on Vande Wall and awarded Tollari first base.

Harms came out to argue and the umpires conferred for a bit and ultimately ruled Tollari out and Hacker retired the last eight batters she faced to earn her 10th straight victory, improving to 20-8 on the season.

After Oskaloosa struck for the run with one out in the fourth, it did not get another base runner the rest of the game, but then it didn't need to.

"I'm really happy, there's really no words to describe the feeling I have right now going through my mind," said Kindley, who'll be making her third appearance in the state tournament. "It's everything I wanted, it's all I wanted for this team. It's really a amazing thing to experience.

"I thought we had a chance (to go to state) from the get-go. We all had the drive and knew we could do it."

Eighth-grade outfielder Maleah Walker, who was thrusted into the lineup late in the season, is happy to make it to her fist state tournament.

"It feels really good," she said. "I'm glad I got a chance to play and I have a chance to go to state. It's going to be fun experience and I can't wait for it."

Hacker allowed seven hits in the shutout, walked three and struck out three.

"The kids executed," Harms said. "One run wins it. It's a funny game, you win with two hits and you get a squeeze bunt to win it, but that's softball. It feels good.

"Our kids have played well, having won 10 of the last 13 games. This lineup has really gelled and really playing well. I'm so happy for the kids. The kids have battled. I'm happy for the kids to experience Fort Dodge. it's going to be a fun week."


At Harlan Rogers Sports Complex

Fort Dodge


Class 4A quarterfinals

Oskaloosa (25-14) vs. North Scott (26-14), 3 p.m. (Kruger Seeds Field)