OTTAWA – Two big innings by Oskaloosa on Wednesday put an end to the Atchison A’s season.
The River Bandits beat Atchison 13-5 in the final game of the zone tournament. Oskaloosa scored five runs in the first and five more in the sixth to propel it to victory.
Wednesday’s game started poorly for the A’s. After being retired in order in the top of the first, Atchison’s Adam Smith couldn’t find a rhythm on the mound in the bottom of the first. Smith allowed a lead-off double and then Oskaloosa’s second batter attempted a sacrifice bunt, but touched the ball out of the batter’s box for an automatic out.
Smith then walked five consecutive batters, forcing Coach White to bring in James Boatwright in relief.
Boatwright, who pitched five innings the night before, struck out the first batter he faced, but then allowed two runs to score on a single before getting the final out of the inning with another strikeout. The Bandits led 5-0 after one inning.
Atchison (13-16) showed its resolve, though, in the top of the second. The A’s allowed the Oskaloosa pitcher to show his own wild side, as Hunter Wahwahsuck reached on a walk, Logan Wahwahsuck was hit by a pitch and then Hunter Ostertag and Ayden Black both walked.
Boatwright drove in a run with a single, and two more runs were driven in by Smith and Marcus Denton. The A’s trailed 5-4 after the top half of the inning, but Oskaloosa pushed it to 6-4 in the bottom half on a solo home run.
“The five runs didn’t scare me because they had a great attitude,” White said. “I knew they were up for the challenge, and they tried. Just a couple bad innings.”
The Bandits increased their lead to 7-4 in the third, but their coach was kicked out of the game for arguing a foul ball called by the umpires.
Atchison pulled a run closer in the fifth. Austin Bonnel singled and scored on a double by Logan Wahwahsuck. Oskaloosa responded again, though, matching the one run in the bottom of the inning.
Down 8-5 in the bottom of the sixth, the A’s needed to keep Oskaloosa within striking distance if it wanted a chance in the seventh inning. However, Atchison piled errors on top of errors and Oskaloosa scored five runs to win by run rule.
Boatwright retired the first batter on a ground out, but the next three Bandits reached by error. A fourth error allowed the eventual fifth run of the inning to reach base.
“I don’t know what happened (in the sixth),” White said. “I don’t have an answer for that.”
Boatwright pitched 5.1 innings on top of the work he put in Tuesday. He struck out seven batters and gave up eight hits. Only two of the eight runs scored on Boatwright were earned – the rest were the result of errors.
“It was a great effort,” White said of Boatwright. “To pitch that many innings in two days is really hard to do. He wanted the ball, I gave him the ball and he did a good job with it.”
Though the season came to an end, White said he was still proud of his team.
“I told them I really appreciated their effort,” he said. “It was a long season and I love them all.”
With the win, Oskaloosa advanced to the American Legion AAA State Tournament in Great Bend.