It was a calendar circling match-up between the Waukee and West Des Moines Valley baseball teams held at Waukee Stadium in Waukee.
The hometown Warriors ended up splitting the contest as they battled back from a 9-8 game one loss to earn a 6-5 game two victory.
Despite the overall score in game one, the Warriors mustered just six hits but utilized great patience and base running to keep in the game. Senior Carson Schau opened up the hitting for Waukee in the very first inning and ended up making his way home on a sacrifice fly by senior Tony Oleshko who had the biggest game of any Warrior with a four-RBI performance. Oleshko along with fellow senior Jacob Goyke drove in Waukee’s next two. Goyke’s RBI double drove in Schau for the second time while Oleshko’s second RBI came off of a fielders choice, sending Goyke to cross the plate. After Valley answered back with runs of their own, Waukee chattered back in the fifth inning which began with a Jalen Martinez single followed by another Goyke double. That set the scene once again for Tony Oleshko who’s groundout to third brought home his third RBI of the contest, giving the Warriors their fifth overall run of the game. Junior Mitch Randall brought home Waukee’s sixth on a sacrifice fly. Two more runs would come home for the Warriors in the sixth inning courtesy of an RBI walk by Oleshko and a second RBI walk by junior Alex Walsh. Unfortunately, the Warriors weren’t able to make a comeback down by one in the seventh and dropped just their second game of the 2019 season.
Game two for the Warriors ended on a higher note and began right away with a first-inning RBI groundout by Goyke. Valley would answer with one run in the third inning which the Warriors answered in retaliation in a big way with a four-run third inning. Ten batters came up to the plate in that eventual decisive third inning complete with five hits and two walks. After Schau and Martinez began the inning with ringing singles, Tony Oleshko continued to produce without making it onto the base paths with an RBI groundout to regain the lead for the Warriors. Alex Walsh chipped in the third run of the game on his eighth RBI of the season which was followed up by an Aiden McGee RBI double. Sawyer Wilson rounded out the scoring with an RBI single to bring home Mitch Randall. That gave Waukee a 5-1 advantage that would hold up throughout the next two innings until Waukee would tack on a very important insurance run in the sixth, courtesy of another RBI single by Goyke.
From there Waukee weathered quite the seventh inning storm as a couple of errors and some timely hitting by the Tigers put four up on the scoreboard and cut the Warrior lead down to just one in a 6-5 contest. Fortunately for the Warriors, cooler heads prevailed and they ended up striking out the final batter to capture their tenth victory of the season 6-5.
On the mound for game two, Cole Kaufman went six strong innings and allowed just one run to cross the plate under his watch.
It after suffering their first two losses of the season back on June 5, a strong emphasis had been put on hitting for the Warriors and when all was said and done, head coach David Dirkx was well pleased with his hitting group.
“We’re not where we need to be just yet but tonight was a big step in the right direction,” said Dirkx. “We hit the ball well tonight, better than we have the last few games which is great to see. Now we just need to keep improving and get to that next level.”
One thing that coach Dirkx thought aided in the improved hitting performance was his teams’ approach to the plate.
“The way we approached the plate and approached the offspeed pitches tonight was the best we’ve done all season long,” began Dirkx. “That really helped us out tonight and if we play like that going forward, we’re going to have a lot more wins in the win column.”
Next up for the Warriors will be a road trip to Mason City Wednesday, June 12 for a doubleheader contest that will begin with game one first pitch at 5 p.m.