Persistence pays off

IOWA FALLS – Strike out, strike out and the always popular ground into a double play with the bases loaded – that was Collin Oswald’s night at the plate as he dug in once more in the seventh inning Monday night.

Twice he’d failed to deliver a hit when runners were in scoring position. But he didn’t pout about it. He used it as motivation.

He got the last laugh, too.

Locked in a 2-2 tie with North Central Conference rival Iowa Falls-Alden, Webster City went in front for good courtesy of a two-RBI line-drive single by Oswald in the final frame, and the Lynx added two more insurance runs to escape with a 6-2 victory.

“I just tried my best to brush (the previous three at bats) off because it’s one at bat to the next,” Oswald said afterwards. “I just took a couple of deep breaths, went up there and did my thing like normal.”

“Ozzie is one of those kids that’s very persistent and very resilient,” WCHS head coach Mark Fisher said. “I just told him to not worry about those other at bats because all it takes is one.”

WCHS (8-14, 6-8 NCC) moved into fifth place in the final conference standings with the victory. Iowa Falls-Alden (4-18, 2-10 NCC) settled for seventh.

Humboldt claimed the league title by one game over runner-up Clear Lake.

Cal Zahn and Jordan Moen were both 2-for-4 at the dish for the Lynx. Romel Martinez, Noah McKinney, Cole Reigelsberger, Dylan Steen and Ty Schnathorst all delivered one single each, as WCHS out-hit the Cadets 10-4.

Still, the Lynx needed some late-inning heroics to overcome a 2-1 deficit. Schnathorst allowed everyone in the dugout to breathe a little easier when he smacked a two-out RBI single to left that scored courtesy runner Jordan Tanner from second in the sixth to knot the game at 2.

“Ty had a big hit for us and it seemed like that took the pressure off a little bit,” Fisher said. “After that we were finally able to string some hits together.”

Neither team was able to capitalize on a bundle of scoring opportunities. They combined to strand 17 runners on base – nine by the Cadets and eight by the Lynx – and both had six left on in scoring position.

“We had the bases loaded with nobody out, then we had guys on second and third with nobody out, and we weren’t able to score. But the guys never hung their heads,” Fisher said. “We were swinging the bats well, we just weren’t getting (the hits) in the right situations.”

The only extra-base hit of the game – a double into the gap in left-center by Moen in the second – led to an early 1-0 lead for the Lynx.

IF-A answered with two runs in its half of the second to jump ahead. Tyjon Rose sprinted around from second on a throwing error and Lane Krause scored moments later on a RBI ground ball off the bat of Bo Williams.

But WCHS pitchers Daniel Halko and Steen both extricated themselves from jams over the final five innings. Halko went the first four innings and allowed just three hits; he struck out five.

Steen took over with no outs in the fifth and retired nine of the 12 batters he faced. IF-A moved a runner over to third with just one out in the sixth, but Steen induced a ground-out and pop-up in foul territory to end the threat.

Steen earned the win after allowing just one hit and one walk over the final three innings. He struck out one.

“(Halko and Steen) will be our two main starters in the (postseason) and they both pitched well,” Fisher said. “They were throwing strikes and they were getting guys out.”

Kolten Peterson had two of the Cadets’ hits – singles in the third and seventh innings. Williams and Krause also singled.

Ben Scadden was on the hook for the loss. He went 62?3 innings and allowed three earned runs. He walked two and fanned five.

Dalton Loyd relieved Scadden in the seventh, but never threw a pitch. Instead he picked Lynx courtesy runner Riley Mishler off first to end the inning.

WCHS closed out the regular season at home against Boone last night. On Friday, the Lynx will travel to Boone for a Class 3A District 4 semifinal against Perry (14-12) at 5 p.m.