After taking down Sioux City North on Friday, July 19, the Class 4A top ten ranked Waukee Warriors took it up a notch as they faced fellow round one winner, Sioux City West.
Waukee entered the postseason averaging just over five runs per contest and has since well exceeded that mark including the 11-0 win over the Wolverines. The game started out with both teams moving quickly through the first inning without much offense to speak of. Then the Warrior offense officially came to play in the second, striking for three runs and an early 3-0 lead. They would then turn that into an 8-0 lead after scoring twice in the third inning and plating three runners in the fourth inning. The last offensive stand for the Warriors came in the sixth inning when they plated three more runs for the 11-0 final.
Waukee well exceeded their hit average of seven hits per game by striking for ten total hits Monday night. Seven Warrior batters captured at least one hit on the evening higlighted by Waukee senior Tony Oleshko. The Warrior third basemen went a solid 3-for-4 at the plate which included launching a home run en route to capturing a season best four RBI game. Oleshko captured his eleventh extra base hit of the season and the second long ball of his career in the process.
“Tony has a very good approach to the plate and when he stays calm inside the box, he makes it extremely difficult for opposing pitchers to get him out,” began Warrior head coach David Dirkx. “He’s one of our most patient batters and he has continually found ways to help out the team without getting a hit. That’s what leaders do.”
Oleshko currently leads the team in walks with 20 free passes.
Other strong offensive performances included fellow senior Jacob Goyke who drew two walks and drove in one run while junior Jalen Martinez recorded his team best 12th double of the season and thus earning his 12th RBI of the season in the process in the second inning. Others who added to the hitting total included senior Cole Caufman who also recorded a double, Sawyer Wilson who crossed the plate three times, Mitch Randall with a single,and Augie Muenzenmay who captured two hits in three trips to the plate.
As for the work on the mound, the pitching duties for the Warriors rested upon junior hurler Jackson Payne. In yet another masterful pitching performance, Payne went the distance with 87 pitches thrown across six innings of play. During that time, Payne recorded a season second best mark of nine strikeouts while only walking two batters (which came in the first two innings). Sioux City West captured just three hits off the junior who continued to impress coach Dirkx.
“One thing Jackson has prided himself on this season is comanding his pitches well and I think he did a real good job of that tonight,” said Dirkx. “He was patient yet wasn’t afraid to attack the strikezone which ultimately helped us a lot.”
The nine strikeouts recorded by Payne now brings his season total up to 70 as opponents are hitting a mere .213 off of him.
The win gives the Warriors an overall record of 28-12 and just one win shy of a second straight state tournament appearance. In order to make the big dance happen, the Warriors will have to battle the reigning Class 4A champions in Urbandale. The J-Hawks are the top-seeded team in the Substate 1 bracket and the game will take place in Urbandale. Waukee is searching for their ninth state tournament appearance in program history and the chance for a latest will come in Urbandale on Wednesday, July 24 with first pitch at 7 p.m.