By: Nathan Bloechl — email@example.com
Oskaloosa — The New London Tiger baseball is one step away from their ultimate goal and they’ll play for the right to achieve it this evening when they battle the Raiders of Mount Ayr in a Class 1A Substate 5 Final.
New London, the seventh-ranked program in Class 1A, enters 25-1.
Mount Ayr is 21-4, after defeating Martensdale-St. Mary’s on the road on Saturday.
The Tigers rallied to defeat Sigourney Saturday night, scoring three runs in the bottom of the 7th to walk off the Savages.
New London is of course led offensively by the three headed monster of Josh Catala, Kooper Schulte and Hecniel Rodriguez — but the lineup really does go nine deep.
Catala is the team leader with a .455 batting average, Schulte is second with three homers, while Rodriguez is first on the squad with 36 runs batted in.
The ball will likely be in his hands in tonight’s must-win game.
Rodriguez is 5-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 26 innings this year, second behind Saturday’s starter Josh Catala.
Meanwhile, Mount Ayr is led by Jaixen Frost, a sophomore, who has absolutely mashed baseballs this summer.
Frost is hitting .632 with eight home runs, eight doubles, two triples and 47 runs batted in.
He’s also stolen 25 bags as he’s already one of the Class of 2023’s prized players statewide.
He could be the one to get the ball tonight after staff ace Jaydon Knight threw six strong against Martensdale on Saturday, but the team could also turn to senior Brian Knapp.
Knapp holds a 2.08 ERA in 33.2 innings — second on the team — and is 5-1.
Tonight’s game will be played at Oskaloosa High School.
First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.
You can listen on FM 105.5 and kilj.com.