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Archive for Thursday, April 4, 1996

OSKIE ROUNDUP

April 4, 1996

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With only 14 boys and six girls out, Oskaloosa track coach Ron Traul has had to focus his team's efforts.

Most of the boys are freshmen and sophomores, which has changed the way Traul coaches.

"There's a lot more teaching that goes along," he said. "We're really short-handed. But the kids we have work really hard."

The Bears will improve with the return of junior sprinter Lance Walker, who is still recovering from a car accident. Traul said Walker would rejoin the team soon.

By building on the strength of distance and middle distance running, Traul said the boys team could perform well in the Delaware Valley League.

"The league's going to be really tough," Traul said. "If the kids keep improving, we could be in the upper half, though."

Stacy Brown is the lone senior on the girls team. She's a distance runner. The other girls are sophomores and juniors.

Traul said it was difficult to field a team because most of Oskaloosa's girls opt for softball.

"We have more out this year than last," Traul said. "But with the girls we do have they really work hard individually."

Softball

While Oskaloosa's girls track team suffers from small numbers, the softball team benefits from large numbers.

The Bears are led by four seniors: center fielder Jenica Decker, pitcher Sally Shughart, left fielder Laura Smatla and catcher Jennifer Osborne.

Oskaloosa softball coach Ed Tomanek said those four seniors have helped make coaching a team with many underclassmen easier.

"They're coaches in themselves," he said. "They're bright and smart kids. Without that kind of senior leadership it would be tough."

For the Bears to be successful this year, defense is a key.

"Our pitching has really come along," Tomanek said. "But our defense is what's going to have to keep us in games."

Because Valley Falls is the only other league school to field a softball team, Oskaloosa has a good chance of winning the title.

Baseball

Oskaloosa (1-2) split a doubleheader with Atchison Maur Hill on Tuesday. The Bears, starting their six year of baseball, dropped their opener to Lansing.

"We're going to go as far as the seniors will take us," coach David Tappan said.

Tappan returned eight players from last year's 4-11 squad

Jeremy Rockhold (outfielder and pitcher), Greg McNary (pitcher and catcher), Tim White (shortstop), Andy VanHoutan (pitcher, third base and catcher) and Mike George (second base) lead the Bears.

"White's our sparkplug and not afraid to get dirty," Tappan said.

The Bears are scheduled to play Prairie View and Gardner-Edgerton today at Gardner.

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